Ihor Vitenko on Situation in Ukraine
The podcast with Ihor Vitenko, the person on the ground in Ukraine, helping our target group is live in Dutch language, therefore we bring you a summary of that conversation.
Pierre Mertens, founder of Child-Help, has been busy organizing practical help to people in Ukraine. In this podcast he tells us about the history of Child-Help with our partners in Ukraine. This relation began with Liliane Bollaerts of the Ukraine Project Edegem, who asked Child-Help for help so that a child from Ukraine could get operated by the spina bifida team at the University of Leuven. After such individual requests, Child-Help believes that it is important to do something for other children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus in the country itself as well. Hence, in 2016, Pierre traveled to Ukraine with Lilian and Ihor Vitenko, a wound care specialist from Ukraine that works in the hospital in Gent, to visit various projects. Back then, he already saw a country that has a two-sided relation with Europe; on the one hand, there was hope that help would come from Europe, but on the other hand, Russia had already conquered the Crimea and Europe had let this happen. It was a country in “burn out”, as Pierre calls it, from where a lot of intellectuals had already departed. With Child-Help’s support, a lot has been done in Ukraine for children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. For example, specialists from Slovakia traveled to Ukraine to train local doctors in continence management, continence materials have been donated, and a local parent group is supported. Through our existing relations with individuals and organizations in Ukraine, Child-Help was able to take action right away after the Russian invasion. Because of this, 3 ambulances with medical materials are on their way to Ukraine, to take care of the first wounded people. Children with disabilities particularly need our help, as the medical materials that they need are currently unavailable and many of them are forced to leave their country.
In the conversation with Dr. Ihor Vitenko, he tells us that he has been working as a wound care specialist in Belgium for almost 23 years. However, he was born in Ternopil, in the west of Ukraine, and studied medicine there. Since 2016, he has been leading the development of the initiatives in Ukraine that are supported by Child-Help, together with Liliane. Ihor was shocked by the invasion of his home country and immediately knew that he wanted to do something for the people there. That is why he contacted his colleagues in Ukraine to ask them what they and their patients need right now. They mentioned that there is an urgent need for transport to move ill and wounded people. In addition, there is a huge shortage of medical materials, such as medications, analgesics, and wound care supplies. Through Child-Help, 3 ambulances have already been purchased, and Ihor received a lot of donations of medical materials through his contacts. During the recording of this podcast, Ihor was already on his way to Ukraine with all of these supplies. His plan is to travel from hospital to hospital, to spread medical materials and share wound care techniques with local doctors. If you would like to contribute to this mission, Ihor tells us that you can donate medical material, or make a financial contribution by using our donation page, or transferring money to the bank account of Child-Help (BE56 7380 1971 7088, mentioning ‘Support for Ukraine’). Besides that, he is asking everyone to offer help to the Ukrainian people who have left their homes and are fleeing to other countries in Europe, as they will need shelter, food and clothes.
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