Kyiv, November 11, 2014. Canadian experts arrived in Kyiv in the evening of November 7 and immediately began to operate on the patients. This was stated by the director of humanitarian initiatives for the Canada Ukraine Foundation Krystina Waler, surgeon Oleg Antonyshyn, advisor to the Minister of Defence of Ukraine (MOD) Anna Kovalenko (former commander of the 39th Women’s Self Defense hundred during the Maidan events) and the Head of the Military Medical department of Ukrainian MOD Colonel Vitaliy Andronatiy during the press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The team consists of 25 members including microsurgeon, neurosurgeon, plastic surgery expert, physical therapist and nurses, noted Krystina Waler. Operations are scheduled to take place between November 10 and 15. In addition to surgeries that take place simultaneously in three operating rooms, it is planned to hold workshops and share professional as well as surgical experience with Ukrainian colleagues. All in all, it is planned to operate on about 40 people; about half of these people – wounded Maidan activists, others came from ATO in Donbas.
This charity project became possible through the support of international NGO «Operation Rainbow», which provides reconstructive surgeries all over the world. According to Oleg Antonyshyn, Canadian surgeon of Ukrainian descent, the project actively involved Ukrainian diaspora, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky. Mr. Antonyshyn highlighted that the team of surgeons includes Canadians from all over the country and not just the members of Ukrainian diaspora who were willing to come over and help the wounded Ukrainians. The project has been funded by the Canada Ukraine Foundation and in part by the Ukrainian MOD (treatment of the wounded soldiers).
Vitaliy Andronatiy said that Ukraine has been collaborating with Canadian friends since April. During this visit the Canadian team brought even the necessary transplant material for the surgeries, noted Andronatiy. He welcomed the decision of Ukrainian authorities to restore military medicine and disaster medicine departments within specialized universities because the current situation poses new challenges which cannot be solved by civilian medicine. Commenting on the exchange of experience between Ukrainian and Canadian physicians, colonel noted that “our medicine gives more freedom to the surgeon whereas there are more regulations in the West.” On behalf of Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, Mr. Andronatiy expressed his gratitude to Canadian colleagues for their help and cooperation.