Despite Russian propagandists’ cynical denials, the Russian military is systematically shelling Ukrainian hospitals. Over the past two months of full-scale war, more than three hundred medical facilities have been damaged. But even in such difficult conditions, hospitals continue to operate; at times, doctors literally live at their places of work. Ukrainian medical workers are setting up bomb shelters, supporting the health of the population, and consulting with their patients online. Amidst all of this, they also find opportunities to dream with their young patients about their plans after Ukraine’s victory.
From the first days of the full-scale invasion, the national specialized children’s hospital, Okhmatdyt (a syllabic acronym meaning “Protection of Mother and Child” — ed.) in Kyiv, has been receiving wounded children and adults, and sometimes even entire families who have been injured as a result of Russian shelling.
On the morning of March 16, the hospital was startled by rocket fire. An enemy missile hit a building 300 metres away. The windows in one of the buildings were damaged by the blast wave, while shrapnel flew across the floor in all directions. Despite all this, the team of doctors continued their work.
On February 24, paediatric neurologist Halyna Fedushka was on duty. She decided not to evacuate and to stay at work instead, and thus became an example for other doctors.
During the first month of the war, the doctors at Okhmatdyt worked, rested and lived in the hospital. As well as coordinating the delivery of medication – a huge problem at the start of the war – and treating the sick and injured in hospital, doctors are providing online consultations. According to Halyna, doctors are actively sharing their phone numbers with those who are unable to get to the hospital.
They also help colleagues who are working on the frontline. As a neurologist, Halyna compiled a list of medicines (and substitutes for them) that doctors at the front could prescribe for concussions, headaches, and dizziness. She also regularly communicates with military medics.
Halyna says that these challenges have united the hospital team more than ever.
Before the full-scale war, women made up 83% of Ukrainian medical workers. Now, they continue to play a central role in responding to the challenges of war by fighting for people’s health.
Thanks to the courage and professionalism of women like the doctors at Kyiv’s Okhmatdyt, life in Ukraine is being supported.
Ukraїner tells the stories of women leaders during a full-scale war within the project "If not us, then who?" together with UN Women in Ukraine, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada and the Government of Denmark. The project's goal is to give exposure to women who are working to hasten Ukraine's victory. These are stories about Ukrainian women fighting for their country and freedom in their respective fields of expertise. They remain in their workplaces to the last in order to save lives, volunteer, and provide the army and civilians with the most necessary. Their stories deserve to be told, and their voices should be heard to further the development of Ukraine.
Involved in the preparation of the material 13 volunteersSupport the project