In response to the war in Ukraine which commenced on 24 February 2022, approximately $20 million of medical aid has been sent to support the sick and injured via a supply chain created by the International Coordination of Medical Aid for Ukraine (ICMAU), a subcommittee of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO).
Medical supplies have been generously donated by hospitals, general practices, medical supply companies, and individuals across VIC, NSW, QLD, SA and WA. Critical aid including tourniquets, Israeli bandages, IFAK kits and hemostatic gauze, has also been purchased thanks to the generous support of the Ukraine Crisis Appeal.
The supply chain was created by ICMAU Chair, Dr Liz (Lesia) Paslawsky and consists of a committee of 13 volunteers in Australia, working with freight forwarders, customs organisations, Rotary, warehouses, and our aviation partner Qantas, who have provided services free-of-charge. The supply chain is robust and continuous and is supported by our global partners including civilian groups from the UK, Poland and Ukraine. This multinational team has been working round-the-clock since February to ensure the continuous supply of urgent medical items to Ukraine.
Critical medical aid is flown from Australia to London by Qantas, before being transported by Welsh Scout Group UK4UA via road convoy from Heathrow, to our partner humanitarian aid hub the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU). From UCU, the Wheels of Victory mobile van convoy distributes the medical aid to the front line and to hospitals.
Dr Paslawsy’s expertise and passion drove her to build this supply chain from the ground-up in a few short weeks. Approaching AFUO Co-Chair Stefan Romaniw, during week one of the invasion Dr Paslawsky asked for volunteers to join the committee to help source and send medical supplies to Ukraine. From this one meeting, coordinators came forward to represent each State, as well as three doctors providing clinical expertise in the specialties of medicine, surgery, paediatrics. The first shipment of medical supplies was received in Ukraine within four weeks of the war starting.
A medical supply list is distributed to donor hospitals and medical suppliers in Australia by the committee of AFUO volunteers. This list was obtained from the Ukrainian Ministry of Health thanks to the invaluable assistance provided by Volodymyr Shalkivskyi, from the Embassy of Ukraine in Australia, who has also provided advice on diplomatic and European border crossing issues.
The robust and continuous supply chain has now been strengthened with the support of the Australian Defence Force and Royal Australian Air Force, who are helping to transport these life-saving items to Ukraine. In addition to medical aid, the committee is now focused on sending emergency response supplies and equipment.
Chair of the International Coordination of Medical Aid for Ukraine, Dr. Liz (Lesia) Paslawsky, said, the strength of the supply chain is in teamwork every step of the way.
“Across Australia and Europe, the teamwork is extraordinarily strong; like a family,” Dr Paslawsky said.
“This teamwork is particularly strong between the volunteers at the Ukrainian Catholic University, where our medical supplies are sent, and UK4UA and the Wheels of Victory, who distribute our aid to areas of most urgent need.
“Our supply chain has multinational partners from Australia, the UK and Ukraine, who have united under the one common cause – to support Ukraine.
“We are forever grateful for the generosity, support and kindness shown by our global partners. To the individuals and organisations who have donated medical aid and financial aid, and to each and every one who has stood with Ukraine at AFUO’s events and rallies. From the Polish community, Lithuanian, Russian, Australian, and other communities – to you, we say thank you.
“We would not have been able to achieve what we have over the past months, without the generosity and kindness shown by so many individuals and organisations.
“There is much we have achieved so far, but there is more to do. I encourage anyone who has not yet made a donation, to make one today through the Ukraine Crisis Appeal. Big or small, every donation makes a big difference to the lives of people in Ukraine. Together we will win,” Dr Paslawsky said.