As Ukraine endures relentless Russian bombardment, casualties, both civilian and military, continue to rise. These increasing Ukrainian casualties are a direct result of Russian forces purposefully targeting civilian populations. The Russians have shown no regard for civilian life and commit atrocities every single day. Ukrainian healthcare providers are overwhelmed throughout the country.

    Along the entire contact line of approximately 900 kilometers (600 miles), there is a daily stream of Ukrainian soldiers being wounded and requiring treatment. However, anywhere in Ukraine on any given day, Ukrainians face the possibility of a missile strike. Literally, throughout the entire nation of Ukraine, any town or village can become the front line when a Russian missile strikes.

    Global Medical Knowledge Alliance Responds to Urgent Medical Needs

    The urgency of the situation cannot be overstated. Besides constantly replacing medical supplies and equipment, there are other crucial needs for the already strained Ukrainian medical services, such as complex treatment issues and training. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has disrupted the ability of physicians and medical schools to train the next generation of doctors.

    Two Ukrainian doctors, now living and working in the United States, decided to do something to address this situation. Drs. Serguei and Nelya Melnitchouk, husband and wife and both Assistant Professors of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, co-founded the Global Medical Knowledge Alliance (GMKA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization aimed at improving trauma and complex medical care in Ukraine and globally. Their focus is to create physician and patient educational content that is evidence-based, written by experts, and available through an online educational platform.

    GMKA founders
    The founders of Global Medical Knowledge Alliance, Dr. Serguei Melnitchouk and Dr. Nelya Melnitchouk.

    In the early days of the full-scale invasion, the doctors were deeply and personally affected by Ukraine’s plight and could not simply stand by and watch from the sidelines. In a BBC interview, Dr. Nelya Melnitchouk explained, “I received a text message from my aunt: ‘Bombs are going off in Ukraine, the war has started.’ So we were shocked and upset, and immediately we tried to think about what we could do. I felt guilty that I wasn’t there, that I couldn’t contribute with my medical skills directly. Being a mom myself, I just could not watch them getting on a train, or getting hurt, saying goodbye to their fathers who are staying behind. It’s a lot,” said Dr. Melnitchouk before being overcome with emotion. “And this was one way for me to be able to contribute, and hopefully to save at least one life. I think Ukraine will win, we are fighting really, really hard. But the question is at what price? How many innocent people are going to die? What is going to be the price of this war,” she continued.

    Mobilizing Medical Expertise and Technology for Ukraine’s Aid

    Confronted by the cost of the war, GMKA volunteers have been busy recruiting medical professionals in multiple complex medical fields to provide expert guidance through webinars and recorded lectures. Additionally, GMKA has partnered with Empat studio to create the HealUA application. This mobile platform allows Ukrainian physicians and physicians from other countries to communicate patient care concerns, share knowledge and experience, and answer each other’s questions regarding clinical topics. This application is free for physicians wishing to share their expertise with the international community.

    GMKA has also established an opportunity for Ukrainian physicians to develop and hone transferable medical skills via observerships at academic institutions and affiliated hospitals in the United States. The overarching objective of this initiative is to revive and revitalize medical infrastructure and care delivery in Ukraine.

    Shown above is anesthesiologist Daria Simchuk, who became the first physician from Ukraine to start an internship in the USA as part of a joint initiative by the Global Medical Knowledge Alliance, Harvard Scholars at Risk Program, and Heal Ukraine Group.
    A group of Ukrainian doctors participated in one of GMKA’s intensive heart and lung transplantation courses in the United States under the leadership of Dr. Serhii Melnitchouk, GMKA founder and cardiac surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The internship lasted three months and enabled 13 medical specialists from Ukraine to participate.

    Delivering Essential Medical Supplies: GMKA’s Collaboration with Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach

    Spotlight Ukraine is also pleased to report that GMKA volunteers are working with Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach, a trusted medical equipment and supply provider to Ukraine and a past Spotlight Ukraine focus organization, to deliver another emergency medical container to Ukraine.

    Shown above is a typical container that’s being loaded with medical supplies and equipment for a shipment to Ukraine.

    Help Save Lives: Support the Delivery of Medical Supplies to Ukrainian Hospitals

    Each container costs $8,000 to supplement, and additional funds are needed for overseas/overland delivery. Containers are often loaded with over $300,000 worth of medical supplies and equipment for Ukrainian hospitals. Those wishing to assist in the delivery of this container are urged to use this link to visit GMKA’s donation page.

    Physicians interested in volunteering services or donating surplus medical supplies/equipment can contact Ken Witkowich, the campaign coordinator, at UkraineNeedsUs@gmail.com or call 352.287.2536.

    Please note that GMKA is a 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are taxdeductible.

    Sources

    Information, descriptions and quotation for this article are drawn from:

    https://gmka.org/

    https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-60673660

    Photography provided courtesy of Global Medical Knowledge Alliance and Hospital Sisters Mission. Use of these images without prior written consent from GMKA or Hospital Sisters Mission is strictly prohibited.

    How You Can Help

    Your support can make a difference!

    Please consider donating to GMKA, who is improving trauma and complex medical care in Ukraine and globally by creating physician and patient educational content that is evidence-based and written by experts. Learn more about GMKA here: https://gmka.org/

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