Volunteer project “Health Bridge” – an opportunity for Ukrainian doctors to learn from the experience of Israeli colleagues


Kyiv, January 25, 2015. Volunteers of NGO “Israeli friends of Ukraine” in cooperation with Rotary Ukraine and Israeli hospitals launched a project “Health Bridge” – an internship program for Ukrainian doctors, mostly surgeons and orthopedists. The idea of ​​this project arose after the beginning of ATO, when the wounded Ukrainian military began to arrive in Israel for treatment. “The goal of our program is to show Ukrainian doctors how the Israel health system is arranged. […] Unfortunately, here in Israel we constantly live in a state of war, so you can get invaluable experience in our clinics,” said Anna Zharova, Representative of the NGO “Israeli Friends of Ukraine” (Israel) at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “As part of the internship, 12 doctors from seven cities in Ukraine – Odesa, Lviv, Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kremenchuk, Chernihiv and Khorol, have visited Israel. We decided that doctors who participated in the ATO and helped those who protect our country will be the first ones to go for the internship,” said Myroslava Novoselska, Head of the interstate committee of Rotary Clubs of Ukraine and Israel.

Currently, the project partners are the two Israeli clinics – “Barzylay” in Ashkelon that took eight doctors for internship program and clinic “Wolfson” in Holon, where four Ukrainian doctors underwent training. The internship program provided for Ukrainian military to cooperate with their Israeli colleagues, to get acquainted with the latest medical equipment that has no analogues in Ukraine yet and, in addition, to get access to the international medical library. “They have highest class equipment there, but that’s not the main thing. The main thing is that we were taught. If we asked questions, we always got an answer,” says Vadym Mazevych, orthopedic traumatologist, researcher at the Institute of Orthopedics and Traumatology. In “Wolfson” where he held an internship, they conducted routine orthopedic, traumatology and emergency surgery operations, received ambulances. According to him, the attitude of Israeli doctors was very friendly and warm. “We feel as if we visited our colleagues  with who we had worked earlier,” says Mr. Mazevych. Besides, the positive role was played by the lack of a language barrier – many doctors who had moved out from the CIS countries spoke Russian and Ukrainian, the rest – English. “We wish the program lasted a bit longer. Within the month spent there we “run up” by the end of the second or third week. During the fourth week we were flying. We were staying in the hospital much longer to see more operations and to understand some techniques,” said Vadym Mazevych. According to Ms. Novoselska, even now, after the project, Ukrainian doctors, if necessary, consult with Israeli counterparts via the internet.

The next group starts on March 5 and will stay in Israel till April 5. “It will visit the “Barzylay” medical center. The group will include 2 doctors from Kyiv, one from Odesa and one from Lviv,” informed Myroslava Novoselska. In the future, the volunteers are planning to slightly enlarge the project. “Up to now, mostly surgeons, orthopedists and military doctors who are working in ​​ATO zone have visited Israel. But now we also want to involve children’s doctors – pediatric surgeons, oncologists, cardiologists,” said Anna Zharova. Volunteers have already begun the talks with several other clinics.