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Talk on the medical situation in Ukraine

Published: 20 January 2023

MSc Global Health student William Revell recently hosted a talk alongside Steve Mannion, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine, members of the Emergency Medicine society, and other external speakers on the medical situation in Ukraine. The talk touched upon the logistics of delivering medicine in a war zone, the wider picture of providing medical aid in various humanitarian crises as well as the clinical perspective on responding to a conflict situation, among much else.

William says, “The idea for the talk on Ukraine was born out of the Conflict and Catastrophe module of which one of the guest speakers, Steve Mannion, is the module lead. We were very lucky that Steve has regularly been in contact with David Wightwick, CEO of UK-Med, who also agreed to speak.

“Finally, we were able to get in touch with the owners of World Extreme Medicine as a few of us were planning to attend the conference they run each year. Mark Hannaford (World Extreme Medicine founder/Associate professor) and Luca Alfatti (advanced paramedic) happily agreed to speak briefly about what they do and their project ‘Medics4Ukraine’ which has been delivering medical aid to the frontlines of the war since the Russian invasion.

“After a welcome, I delivered a brief introduction giving an overview of the current situation in Ukraine using statistics to detail various aspects of the war so to set the scene and provide a platform for our speakers to speak about their work and experiences.

“Steve spoke of providing surgical intervention at the start of the Ukraine war, not only his personal experiences with being in a war zone, but also providing aid and consultation in a medical capacity which gave an insight into the realities of humanitarian work. Steve also shared a raw view of what can be faced when going into a situation with high pressure and limited provision.

“Mark Hannaford and Luca Alfatti of World Extreme Medicine, a company that organises the annual World Extreme Medicine conference, and also various courses for medical professionals to improve their clinical capabilities and knowledge, then explained Medics4Ukraine. They shared the back story of the creation of Medics4Ukraine along with the major benefits that they have provided to the Ukrainian people by delivering various medical supplies to the front-line of the war effort. They also provided insight into some of the logistical hurdles they have faced and how they were able to overcome them in order to provide ongoing aid.

“David Wightwick, CEO of ‘UK-Med’, an emergency response Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that has provided aid to the efforts in Ukraine was our final speaker. UK-Med is also one of the World Health Organisation’s registered emergency response organisations that hold hundreds of NHS staff on standby, ready to be called upon for emergency response whenever a crisis may occur in the world!

“David provided an incredible insight into responding to a humanitarian emergency while also sharing an overview of the logistical aspects of working with other NGOs and medical aid agencies.

“I am extremely proud of how the medicine in Ukraine evening went. I’ve only had positive feedback about the quality of guests, some who attended are even considering joining similarly minded efforts!

“I feel that the conference gave the audience a greater understanding of what providing clinical aid entails not just in Ukraine, but other ongoing efforts around the world as well. We had a great mix of guests who were able to provide different perspectives on various topics which all came together to give a greater understanding of the medical efforts ongoing within Ukraine.”

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