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SAFER Ukraine gives a blueprint for responding to international well being crises — ScienceDaily


When Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022, disruptions in civilian life (notably to the healthcare system) created a dire state of affairs for Ukrainian kids with most cancers and blood problems. In response, the St. Jude International initiative of St. Jude Youngsters’s Analysis Hospital banded along with many worldwide companions and fashioned Supporting Motion for Emergency Response in Ukraine (SAFER Ukraine). An account of SAFER Ukraine seems within the September difficulty of The Lancet Haematology.

SAFER Ukraine companions embrace non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or foundations resembling Fundacja Herosi and Tabletochki Charity Basis, the Polish Society of Pediatric Oncology and Hematology (PSPOH), the Worldwide Society for Pediatric Oncology-Europe, Childhood Most cancers Worldwide-Europe and authorities companies plus many different volunteers and contributors. The hassle facilitated the protected evacuation of greater than 900 sufferers and households to reestablish medical care overseas.

“SAFER Ukraine demonstrates the significance of collaborative networks in international well being, with participation from people, establishments and governments, to facilitate each fast responses to emergencies and ongoing capability constructing to enhance affected person care and outcomes,” stated first and co-corresponding writer Asya Agulnik, M.D., M.P.H., St. Jude Division of International Pediatric Drugs, St. Jude International Euro Regional Program director and St. Jude International Essential Care Program director.

A mannequin for worldwide cooperation

The SAFER Ukraine effort gives a proof-of-concept for international well being that may be leveraged in future worldwide emergency responses. There have been a number of distinctive and notable traits of SAFER Ukraine that helped the hassle achieve success. These components embrace the affected person inhabitants, geopolitical context and well-established pre-war collaborations.

For instance, childhood most cancers remedy may be efficient however requires exact timing. Sufferers whose care was interrupted can profit from a fast evacuation and relocation to a hospital the place they will proceed their care. If carried out rapidly, these sufferers can obtain a considerable survival profit. The conflict additionally galvanized assist for Ukraine, with the European Union extending speedy safety and authorized standing to Ukrainian refugees. That standing created the authorized and monetary framework that in the end made it attainable to refer sufferers all through Europe for care. Moreover, St. Jude International already had partnerships within the area. The fast repurposing of present collaborative networks was key to the hassle’s success.

“For me, SAFER Ukraine is a long-continuing journey giving me the chance to fulfill many individuals around the globe who’re centered on serving to Ukrainian kids by their two combats, a most cancers and the army violence of their nation,” stated co-corresponding writer Wojciech Mlynarski, M.D., Ph.D., Medical College of Lodz, Poland. “Many of those individuals have develop into my new dependable associates.

“This paper describing SAFER Ukraine opens a pathway for future collaborative initiatives, with St. Jude and different worldwide companions,” he added.

SAFER Ukraine Course of

As of Might 2022, 949 sufferers had arrived at referral hospitals. After the primary 12 weeks of conflict, the quantity of sufferers requesting evacuation decreased; nevertheless, SAFER Ukraine continues to assist a median of 1 to 2 evacuation requests per week.

Ukrainian sufferers and households needing evacuation had been recognized by the Tabletochki Basis or the PSPOH hotline. Sufferers had been transported to the Western Ukrainian Specialised Youngsters’s Medical Middle in Lviv, Ukraine, the place they’re stabilized for switch overseas.

Within the first 12 weeks of the conflict, greater than 10 million refugees fled Ukraine. Roughly 50% of these fleeing went to Poland. The variety of sufferers in want triggered considerations that the Polish medical system could be overwhelmed. To mitigate this danger, SAFER Ukraine labored with the Herosi Basis and the PSPOH to ascertain the Unicorn Marian Wilemski Clinic, a affected person triage heart in South-Jap Poland.

On the clinic, sufferers had been evaluated upon arrival. Excessive-risk or acutely in poor health sufferers had been transferred instantly to native hospitals, whereas secure sufferers remained on the clinic for referral overseas. The clinic offered interpreters, volunteers and affected person liaisons to assist the psychosocial wants of sufferers and households.

SAFER Ukraine partnered with hospitals and foundations around the globe that offered transportation, lined the price of medical care and ensured entry to psychosocial companies. SAFER Ukraine additionally created a 24-hour/7-days-per-week digital command heart staffed by St. Jude staff and greater than 400 worldwide volunteers to assist evacuation logistics, together with the interpretation of medical data.

“We hope that classes discovered from SAFER Ukraine can information future emergency responses to assist medically advanced, high-risk sufferers throughout man-made and pure disasters,” Agulnik stated. “This effort actually highlighted the significance of our pre-war collaborations. With out the present and ongoing work with our companions by the St. Jude International initiative and the St. Jude International Alliance, this would not have been attainable. The supportive geopolitical atmosphere in Europe and the distinctive affected person inhabitants of kids with most cancers had been additionally necessary components within the success of SAFER Ukraine.”

Authors and funding

The examine’s different authors are Roman Kizyma, Western Ukrainian Specialised Youngsters’s Medical Middle; Aleksandra Oszer, Medical College of Lodz; Yuliya Nogovitsyna, Tabletochki Charity Basis; Malgorzata Dutkiewicz, Fundacja Herosi; Jean Hugues Dalle, Gustave Roussy Most cancers Campus; Uta Dirksen, College Hospital Essen; Angelika Eggert, Charite Medical Faculty, Berlin; Ana Fernandez-Teijeiro, Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena, Seville; Jeanette Greiner, Hospital of Jap Switzerland; Kathelijne Kraal, Princess Maxima Centre for Pediatric Oncology; Alexandra Mueller, College Medical Middle Freiburg; Lucie Sramkova, 2nd Medical Faculty and College Hospital Motol Prague; Marco Zecca, Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo; Paul Sensible, Stanford College Faculty of Drugs; and Marta Salek, Marcin Wlodarski, Mikhail Pogorelyy and Taisiya Yakimkova of St. Jude.

The authors symbolize the bigger SAFER Ukraine Collaborative which incorporates over 200 people from quite a lot of organizations and establishments who contributed to the hassle.

The Lancet Haematology report was supported partly by ALSAC, the fundraising and consciousness group of St. Jude, amongst others.

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