May 30, 2014

Following heavy clashes this week in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has provided medical supplies, including dressings, bandages, syringes, antibiotics, and stretchers, to three public hospitals in Donetsk and one public hospital in Luhansk.

“A number of hospitals in Donetsk have faced a shortage of supplies after treating influxes of wounded people”, said Stéphane Prévost, head of mission for MSF in Ukraine. “These urgently needed supplies will help replenish the hospitals’ stocks so that doctors can continue providing medical care to those people who need it.”

As part of MSF’s emergency preparedness plan, the organization had pre-positioned emergency medical kits in Donetsk and Luhansk so that prompt donations could be made should there be an escalation in violence.

“Our team is closely monitoring the potential medical needs in eastern Ukraine, and is ready to provide further assistance,” continued Prévost. “We are in regular contact with medical staff at the main hospitals in the area in case they require our additional support.”

Over the coming days, MSF will reinforce its emergency team and will assess the needs in health structures in areas affected by ongoing fighting. A specialized team, led by a psychologist, will also assess the mental health needs of people in Kyiv and Odessa who have been displaced or affected by violence over the last three months.

Since March, MSF has been running a mental health program to provide counseling to victims of violent events earlier this year in Kyiv, as well as technical and emotional support for mental health professionals who were delivering psychological care. From March to May, staff have trained 450 mental health professionals in psychological first aid, post-traumatic stress disorder, grief, anxiety, and stress management.

MSF has been working in Donetsk since 2011, running a program to treat patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis within the regional penitentiary system.

MSF is an international medical humanitarian organization working under the principles of neutrality, independence, and impartiality in more than 70 countries around the world. MSF does not take sides in any conflict, is independent of all political, military and corporate agenda, and provides medical care to people on the basis of need alone, regardless of gender, race, religion or political affiliation.  

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