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War in Ukraine

PROVIDING RELIEF TO PEOPLE AFFECTED BY THE WAR IN UKRAINE

International Medical Corps is expanding its relief efforts inside Ukraine in response to the war there, as well as in neighbouring countries, to provide medical, mental health and protection services to the millions of people affected by the conflict, including refugees.

International Medical Corps is on the ground in Ukraine, has created a logistics and support hub in Poland, has teams in Moldova and Romania, and is working with health agencies and local partners to provide the following relief services:

  • Primary and emergency health services from medical professionals, including specialist physicians, general practitioners and nurses
  • Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), critical for people affected by war
  • Gender-based violence (GBV) response services, and protection services for women, children and other people who face risks during conflict
  • Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services
  • Medicines and medical supplies, including PPE, to help provide critical care and prevent infectious diseases like COVID-19 among refugees and displaced populations

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Our Response in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is evolving rapidly, displacing civilians throughout the country and creating millions of refugees. International Medical Corps, which has decades of experience in the country, is currently on the ground in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova, and stands ready to provide a wide range of humanitarian relief, working in partnership with local organisations that are providing critical medical and social services under increasingly difficult and dangerous conditions.

Here is an overview of the services we’ve been providing in Ukraine since 2014, and how our in-country team—as well as our staff in Poland, Romania and Moldova—is expanding relief services as needed.

Medical Care

Before the war, we worked closely with local partners to operate mobile medical teams providing healthcare services—including specialties such as a gynaecology and cardiology, as well as prescription medication—to villages around Mariupol, near the original line of contact in the eastern conflict. With war now raging throughout the country, we have moved hundreds of tons of critical medicines, supplies and equipment to overwhelmed healthcare facilities inside Ukraine, to serve hundreds of thousands of people, and will continue supplying hospitals as needed.

As safety and security permits, we are providing medical care through mobile teams in areas throughout the country. These teams—which focus on providing emergency and primary health services, as well as MHPSS, GBV and protection services, and infant and young-child feeding (IYCF)—do not establish a parallel system, but support and operate out of village-level health centres or community spaces, helping to strengthen and supplement existing capacity.

To support our expanding response and the growing need for medicines and supplies, we have secured additional warehouse and office space in locations throughout Ukraine, and deployed an expert team of logisticians to ensure a robust supply chain. We continue to assist partners and health facilities in impacted areas—most recently in Odessa, where health facilities are in desperate need of medicines and supplies.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, International Medical Corps has been working with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health (MoH) to implement a COVID-related program covering health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the Donetsk region. We will continue to work with the MoH—as well as with ministries of health in the surrounding region—to provide infection prevention and control (IPC) and other health supplies and services in areas where people are in crowded conditions, either because they have been internally displaced or have fled across international borders.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS)

After eight years of conflict in the east, the Ukrainian people already have been exposed to significant uncertainty and emotional distress, and levels of fear and anxiety about their exposure to violence and trauma—along with stressors related to displacement and family separation—have only risen as the war has escalated.

International Medical Corps works directly in communities and with local partner organisations to provide appropriate MHPSS programming to those in need. Since 2014, we have used mobile teams to reach villages along the line of contact in the eastern conflict—and this work has continued despite the war. Psychologists, case workers and community-based facilitators have established support groups for adults and older people, to reduce social isolation and increase contact within the community through psychoeducation and recreational activities. Since 2017, we have supported thousands of people with psychosocial support, targeting hard-to-reach areas of eastern Ukraine.

Even in the midst of war, we are continuing to increase the availability of comprehensive MHPSS services to address emotional distress, provide psychological first aid (and train others to do so), and prevent and treat mental health conditions, both in Ukraine and in surrounding countries. We will continue to promote the IASC Guidelines on MHPSS in Emergency Settings as the global best practices with which all MHPSS actors should align their services, and are working to ensure that protection efforts are well-coordinated between cluster and sub-cluster leads throughout the region.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Protection Services

In situations of conflict and displacement, women and girls face new and heightened protection risks, which are compounded by interruptions in services and support networks. International Medical Corps has experience in Ukraine that can help. From 2015 to 2020, we delivered GBV prevention and response programs in partnership with local organisations and communities, organising women’s and girls’ safe spaces, training caseworkers to provide individualised care for women and child survivors of violence, and mobilising communities to reduce risks and prevent incidents of violence.

We also have supported children and adolescents residing in areas of conflict by creating safe spaces that promote well-being, as well as social and emotional development. And we have promoted essential life skills among these groups, including self-awareness, group and community interaction, peer and family relationships, and leadership.

Now, we are working to ensure that women and girls inside Ukraine, as well as those crossing into neighbouring countries, have access to safe spaces, material support and focused response services for survivors of rape and other forms of gender-based violence. We also are working to ensure the safety of children and adolescents, who are particularly vulnerable during times of war.

Aid to Refugees

In addition to expanding our existing programs in Ukraine, International Medical Corps is setting set up humanitarian hubs in Poland, Romania and Moldova to provide humanitarian services throughout the region—procuring medicines, supplies and equipment, based on requests we are receiving from hospitals and primary-care centres within Ukraine, securing routes to get these critically needed items to our hubs, and moving them across the border. We also are talking to government agencies about providing medical care, mental health and psychosocial support and protection services to refugees, and forging partnerships to implement programs while we pursue registration in those countries.

For example, in Poland we are working with partners to provide health and MHPSS services to refugees there, as well as to communities in Ukraine located near the Polish border. We also are distributing health- and WASH-related supplies—as well as non-food items (NFIs), such as diapers and towels—to shelters and reception centres, and offering employment opportunities to displaced Ukrainians with specialized skills to provide services to fellow refugees. We also are providing technical assistance on protection-related issues, with priorities including GBV prevention and response, child-friendly spaces, and psychosocial first aid (PFA) support and training.

In Moldova, we are working with the Ministry of Health to strengthen its health system, particularly along the border with Ukraine, and have provided shipments of health- and WASH-related supplies to facilities and reception centres there. We also are providing training to strengthen the health system and help it prepare for potential additional waves of refugees.

International Medical Corps has established corridors from Poland, Romania and Moldova into Ukraine, to ensure that we can continue to deliver critical medical supplies to responders inside the country, helping to ensure continuity of care. If requested by national governments, we can deploy our Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Type 1, in either fixed or mobile configuration, to provide medical and other care to refugees. We are the only NGO in the world classified by the WHO as an EMT Type 1 provider for both configurations.

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