Rebuilding the future for hematology in Ukraine today
The Hague (Netherlands), December 5, 2022 - Nearly 8 million Ukrainians have fled their country since February 24 according to the UN Refugee Agency, while about 5 million people have moved back. That is why the European Hematology Association (EHA) has launched the new Ukraine Bridge Funding program to restrengthen hematology in the country after the war.
How to help Ukrainian hematologists build back for the future? EHA’s Ukraine Bridge Funding program focuses on hematologists and researchers in hematology who are currently refugees in Europe. It has three main goals:
- Help them maintain skills or acquire new ones, and support their return to Ukraine
- Actively facilitate and support the rebuilding of hematology in the country
- Offer networking opportunities and cooperation with their European counterparts
"I am proud of how medical associations like EHA and ASH, together with national institutions are teaming up to offer not only medical support, but also immense hope – individually, on the ground, and at a corporate level," says Elizabeth Macintyre, EHA President. Since April 2022 EHA and its partners have launched a variety of projects to support Ukrainian hematologists, patients and their families. So far, our joint actions focus on three forms of humanitarian aid:
Transferring patients to European hospitals
Thanks to the Ukrainian Hematology Association, Helping to Leave, a Ukrainian non-governmental organization (NGO), the Lymphoma Coalition (LC), the Italian Leukemia Association (AIL) and the Fondazione Italiana Linfomi (FIL), patients can be evacuated to the Maggiore Charity Hospital and the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Italy, among others. EHA has worked closely with National Hematology Societies to identify single points of contact and connect these national hubs with hematologists in Ukraine and Poland and with the LC – the organization which has been the driving force behind the efforts for Ukrainian patients.
Delivering critical medical supplies and equipment
Access to basic medical and surgical supplies has a major impact whether a patient lives or dies. Distribution within Ukraine is seriously constrained by damage to infrastructure and potential shortages of power and fuel. Thus, EHA has concentrated its efforts on coordinating the delivery of supplies to hospitals with medical (Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)), patient (LC) and governmental organizations (EU, WHO) through the ECO-ASCO Special Network for Ukraine. The aim of this coordination is to avoid different groups sending similar materials to the same medical institution.
Increasing financial support to medical organizations and national NGOs
Often cash donations are an appropriate way to deliver humanitarian assistance. Cash transfers not only directly address beneficiaries' needs, but also fuel the local economy. EHA took concrete steps to secure quality funding for local and international actors: MSF rushed over 800 tons of medical supplies and other relief items to Ukraine by the end of July. Considerable funding was also committed to Helping to Leave. Its medical department and Lymphoma Coalition collaborate to evacuate over 16,000 people out of Ukraine.
"These are examples of projects where we contribute how we can – individually, on the ground, and at a corporate level. As conditions change, we will need to adjust – the Ukraine Bridge Funding program is just doing right that: support hematologists and scientists to rebuild hematology after the war," concludes Elizabeth Macintyre.
The European Hematology Association (EHA) is a membership association that promotes excellence in patient care, research, and education in hematology. EHA works towards its mission by connecting hematologists worldwide, supporting their career development and research, through harmonizing education, and advocating the interest of hematologists. EHA brings together relevant stakeholders. Together, we shape the future of hematology.
European Hematology Association
Minh Tran, Head of Communications and Marketing