MSF assesses response as Ukraine conflict escalates

A dilapidated house with tin roof and broken gate

Ukraine 2021© MSF/Natalia Chekotun

Updated on February 28, 2022

The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) released the following statement in response to escalating conflict in Ukraine

MSF teams remain in Ukraine and are currently seeking ways to respond to the medical and humanitarian needs as the conflict evolves. We are also mobilizing our staff and resources internationally to be ready for a variety of potential needs. Our supply centers are currently preparing medical kits for rapid dispatch. We have sent additional emergency teams to the region, and our staff are currently assessing the needs of Ukrainian refugees in Poland and other neighboring countries.

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We are deeply worried about the consequences of the conflict for Ukrainian people and communities. We see on the roads that many people are frightened and on the move.

Although MSF remains present in Ukraine for now, we had to make the painful decision to halt our normal activities. Our medical projects included HIV care in Severodonetsk, TB care in Zhytomyr, and improving health care access in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, where we have been providing much needed health care to conflict-affected communities. 

Map

Map of MSF projects that are on hold

While routine programs have now mostly stopped, we did all that we could to ensure some continuity of care for our patients. The needs were already high as people have been living through eight years of conflict. We are worried about the impact prolonged fighting could have on patients, many of whom are elderly and suffer from chronic diseases. Immediately before the latest escalation of tensions, we were in contact with several hospitals in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to provide training in emergency medicine and surgical preparedness. Yesterday our team provided one mass casualty kit, with supplies for treating traumatic injuries, to a hospital in Mariupol.

As hostilities continue, ensuring people’s access to health care and medicines will be critical. Our teams are looking into how they can adapt MSF's activities to respond. We will continue to assess how to provide aid in a safe and impartial manner in Ukraine.