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In response to the escalating conflict in Ukraine, the International Health Partners (IHP) has initiated with an initial shipment of 59 Essential Health Packs to its in-country partner Project HOPE.

Essential Health Packs are pre-packed, portable kits filled with a range of essential medicines such as antibiotics and analgesics and enable the swift delivery of critical, reliable medicines in places where people wouldn’t otherwise be able to obtain them.

“Primary healthcare almost doesn’t exist in the country right now, and every day I receive medical needs lists from hospitals around the country which are rapidly running out of supplies,” said Chris Skopec, Executive Vice President, Global Health at Project HOPE.

IHP’s response aims to meet some of this need, and the organisation anticipates this being the first of several shipments to support the people of Ukraine. However, the situation is extremely complex. Finding viable and safe transport routes into the country has posed the biggest challenge for the IHP logistics team, who continue to work closely with carriers and partners to navigate the developing situation and ensure the safe delivery of these medicines.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Health now estimates that 18 million people have been affected by the conflict, 12 million of whom are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The number of people displaced by the fighting continues to rise, as well as the number of casualties.

UNOCHA have stated: “The most pressing humanitarian needs are emergency medical services, critical medicines, health supplies and equipment, safe water for drinking and hygiene, and shelter and protection for those displaced from their homes.”

Within Ukraine, the Ministry of Health has suspended all scheduled hospitalisations and elective procedures, to ensure that hospitals have sufficient capacity to manage conflict-related injuries.

This is likely to have a devastating impact on the health outcomes of patients over the long-term and the conflict is compounding the risk to already vulnerable populations being forced to flee.

“It’s devastating to see the unfolding situation in Ukraine and the knock-on effects this is already having already on people’s health and wellbeing,” says Louise Hart, Programmes Director at IHP.

“Echoing the World Health Organization’s statement, it is absolutely critical that the health system continues to be able to function and that essential medicines are able to reach hospitals and health workers safely,” she adds.

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