As early as the summer of 2022, it became evident that the winter of 2022/2023 would be the most challenging in Ukraine's recent history.
Background of the Project
The full-scale war has caused significant damage to the healthcare system and has led to several problems that hindered the timely and comprehensive provision of medical services to the population. According to Ukraine's Minister of Health, Viktor Lyashko, as of February 2023, nearly 200 medical facilities had been completely destroyed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, with 1218 facilities suffering damage. Namely, 540 hospitals were partially destroyed, 173 were completely demolished, and 593 pharmacies were damaged. At least 98 individuals lost their lives, and 134 sustained injuries, including approximately 18 deceased medical personnel and 56 seriously wounded.
*the map of damaged and destroyed medical facilities across Ukraine since February 2022
Satellite nighttime sensor view of Ukraine and surroundings on the night of 24 November 2022, showing the electricity outage
The shelling of critical infrastructure in the autumn of 2022 intensified pressure on the healthcare system. In addition to the main issues causing strain on the healthcare system, such as patient migration, persistent attacks on medical infrastructure, staffing problems due to the outflow of healthcare professionals, disruption of logistical links and medication availability, as well as the absence of proper bomb shelters in medical facilities, there were additional challenges related to electricity and heating, lack of water supply, and instability in the power grid, which rendered costly medical equipment inoperable.
In the autumn of 2022, the Ukrainian Armed Forces successfully reclaimed territories in the Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and parts of the Kherson regions, creating a need for the restoration and equipping of healthcare facilities in the liberated areas.
Shelling of critical infrastructure, widespread power outages, water and gas shortages throughout the country, all compromised the healthcare sector and hindered the delivery of proper patient care. We began receiving requests for assistance from medical institutions in preparation for the winter season. Hospitals reported the lack of functional backup generators, equipment loss and damage due to looting during the occupation, the absence of central water supply and heating, problems with sheltering, and shattered windows.
Addressing these issues became one of the organization's top priorities. Our goals were as follows:
Equip hospitals with alternative power sources (generators, charging stations, UPS systems) to ensure uninterrupted provision of essential services during electrical disruptions;
Provide hospitals with necessary equipment like heaters and boilers to maintain proper temperatures in stationary departments and shelters during the winter period, as well as ensuring access to hot water;
Reduce electricity consumption in hospital buildings and increase indoor temperature by replacing old or damaged windows and covering the openings with OSB boards in front-line hospitals.
Over the course of 8 months 355 hospitals in 23 regions of Ukraine were assisted via this program. Hospitals received 6158 heating devices, 155 generators, 30 power stations, and 106 UPS units. Windows were replaced in 26 hospitals, and for 18 frontline hospitals, OSB boards were delivered to cover window openings. The total value of the humanitarian investment mobilized amounted to $4.2 million.
Story of impact: Vovchansk central district hospital
Located within 10 km to the border with Russia, the city has gone through occupation, de-occupation and continuous shelling. Before the occupation, the town had a population of almost 20,000, but after the occupation, less than 3,500 people remained. The staff of the Vovchansk Central District Hospital continues providing medical care to those that remain in the town.
As a result of shelling, the hospital's infrastructure was compromised, leaving the medical staff without access to vital resources such as electricity, gas, and hot water. Furthermore, the building's windows were broken and are now covered with plywood boards.
Delivering generator and other equipment to the hospital was a challenging endeavor, involving the need to protect the equipment from the shelling and navigate the damaged roads in the area. The mission was a success and helped ensure the continued provision of essential medical services in this conflict-affected region.
A detailed report on the impact of the program "Strengthening healthcare infrastructure in Ukraine during the winter period 2022-2023" can be viewed at the link below.