Kyiv, February 26, 2016. During their work in Ukraine the fourth Mission of Canadian doctors – a team of twenty two medical volunteers from across Canada consulted more than 100 wounded servicemen of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Maidan participants and conducted 40 surgeries operations on faces and upper extremities to eliminate post-traumatic craniofacial deformities and defects of soft tissues and scars. “These are complicated operations. Some of these operations are conducted in the conjunction with our Ukrainian counterparts and that collaboration is essential for the success of the mission such as this,” said Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn, Head of the Adult Craniofacial Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Professor of Plastic Surgery at the University of Toronto, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “It’s honour and privilege to serve and help the servicemen who have been injured in this war,” noted Mr. Antonyshyn. The mission was organized by the Canadian-Ukrainian Foundation under the patronage of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and in cooperation with the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of the Government of Canada allocated 1.2 million Canadian dollars for this project.
The medical team includes “nurses, anesthesiologists, surgeons – the whole surgical team,” noted Krystina Waler, Director of Humanitarian Initiatives of Ukraine Canada Foundation. Operations and consultations are conducted in the Main Clinical Military Hospital in Kyiv. “We have seen a hundred patients. Some of these are new consultations, some of these are patients we treated in the past,” noted Oleh Antonyshyn. As of Friday, 34 patients have been operated on. “Today, during the last day of surgeries 6 more patients will be operated on, i.e. a total of 40 patients will operated. All surgeries are successful, there are no postoperative complications in patients,” said Col. Ihor Fedirko, Medical Service, Director of the Craniofacial Surgery and Dentistry Clinic at the Ministry of Defence Main Clinical Military Hospital. He added that some of them have already been discharged from the clinic and continue their treatment as outpatients at home, or in hospitals.
Oleh Antonyshyn also noted that one of the mission objectives was “to bring all those tools and devices that we might employ in Canada to make these procedures as successful as possible. Our intent is to leave all those tools behind for the Ukrainian surgeons.” The total cost of the equipment is about 700 thousand Canadian dollars.
Victor Hetmanczuk, President of the Canada Ukraine Foundation, thanked all the participants of the project and Petro Poroshenko – for honoring three members of the mission with the awards from the Ukrainian government. “Not only he recognized the three individuals who devoted a lot of time and effort, but he also recognized the whole team and with the recognition of the team he has also recognized all the thousands of volunteers in Canada that have been working hard over the last 2 years to help their compatriots here in Ukraine,” said Mr. Hetmanczuk. He also added that the diaspora is ready to cooperate “not only in the medical field; we are looking also for other opportunities. There is a lot of knowledge that we can still share between Canada and Ukraine.”
It should be pointed out that missions of Canadian doctors to Ukraine took place for a year and a half. Funds for the second mission were contributed by Ukrainian diaspora. The Canadian government financed the third and fourth missions. During the three previous missions Canadian doctors conducted more than 180 surgeries on more than 90 patients. In addition, doctors together with volunteers of NGO “Protection of Patriots” took part in medical training of Ukrainian military. Christina Waler noted that under favorable conditions the next, fifth mission will take place in autumn 2016.