Health Partners International Canada (HPIC) has met its first pledge and commitment to deliver $2.4 million in medicines to Ukraine, which has provided immediate relief to Ukrainians in Ukraine and those who have taken refuge in neighboring countries such as Poland and Hungary. In just six months, HPIC exceeded its goal, delivering $2.8 M in medicines .
HPIC’s response to those affected has been very different as compared to other emergencies. “Even though it might seem easier to send medicines to a country that borders the European Union, Ukraine’s location has added shipping and logistics challenges we have not seen in other emergencies,” says Mathias Bowler, Operations Manager for HPIC.
In the months following the Russian invasion in February, land border routes quickly became clogged and HPIC had to carefully navigate the strict regulatory requirements of the EU, even though the medicines it was sending were destined for consignees in Ukraine. Many aspects of those regulatory requirements have also changed multiple times in the last five months.
Add to that, the fact that many pharmaceutical and other donors offering products were new to HPIC and medical donations in general.
“So many donor company employees saw round the clock coverage of the attack and mass exodus of refugees on the news and reached out to HPIC to offer what they could from their company’s inventory”, says Director of Healthcare Industry Relations, Heather Watts.
This was compounded by the fact that Canada is home to the largest Ukrainian community outside of Ukraine. HPIC was contacted by many civil society and ethnic Ukrainian groups requesting help from HPIC, some even indicating that they would accept expired medicines.
HPIC’s response to the crisis in Ukraine has been unprecedented in terms of unifying the community across Canada, while ensuring strict adherence to international protocols for the delivery of donated medical products.
“Emergencies are complex,” says Watts, “Meeting our goal in just six months was a challenge because it meant we had to action our mission in a more resourceful and strategic manner than ever before.”
Each Humanitarian Medical Kit that was sent to Ukraine contained essential medicine such as antibiotics, antihypertensives, diabetes medication, painkillers and first aid products, providing 600 medical treatments.
HPIC Canada’s President Lois Brown says, “We’re incredibly thankful to HPIC’s many partners for joining us in responding to the ongoing Ukrainian conflict and emergency. We couldn’t have mobilized this remarkable relief effort without their generosity and support. Our Canadian donors and partners continue to mobilize aid in addition to our international partners who oversee local distribution and other life-saving efforts.”
For the first time on record, the number of forcibly displaced people around the world has exceeded 100 million, propelled by the war in Ukraine and other conflict.
“We met our first milestone, but there is more that can be achieved. We are aware of the inhumane situations in which Ukrainians are living. It will take many years before this country rises again,” says Brown, “The work is not over; we appeal to all our Canadian donors and partners to continue helping as our HPIC team begins to plan the medical aid that will be sent this fall and in 2023.”
As of this summer, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that more than 5.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine with the majority of those being women and children. A further 7.7 million people have been displaced internally within Ukraine. Ukrainians have lost everything—their homes, their careers, family members, and many even their lives. Those who are struggling to survive are in desperate need of food and medicines.
HPIC and its partners will continue to provide medical relief. Phase 2 plans are well on the way to deliver much needed medicines for the remainder of this year and next. To learn more, visit hpicanada.ca
August 18, 2022
Health Partners International Canada and CanWaCH
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