Right in the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the UNWLA set up its Medical Aid Emergency Response Team. Through constant communication with healthcare providers in Ukraine, we were able to act promptly and deliver medical aid to hospitals right in the beginning of the full-scale invasion.
New Jersey Hospital Association and its member hospitals have mobilized medical supplies to support Ukrainian hospitals. Tons of medical aid have been sent to Ukraine in cooperation between the UNWLA and NJHA. We also enjoyed overwhelming support from hospital staff: some even hosted their fundraisers to support Ukraine and wore blue and yellow to work.
Support of the hospitals and general and tactical medicine remains our priority. We also sent medicine and medical supplies to the outpatient clinic and a hospital in Mykolaiv, both of which had been bombed. Besides the general support of Ukrainian hospitals, we allocated funding to purchase IFAK and Blood Transfusion kits, Wound Vacs, and External Fixators. Our efforts also yielded tons of medical supplies shipped to Ukrainian hospitals in Kyiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Bila Tserkva, and Lviv and distributed among other hospitals in need. Initiative E+, with which we partnered to purchase oxygen concentrators for COVID-19 patients in 2021, used its commendable mobility to deliver medical aid even in the hardest-hit territories on the frontline.
Orthopedic External Fixators and Wound Vacs (Vacuum-Assisted Closure Systems) were outlined as the top priority medical equipment. External fixators keep a fractured bone stabilized and in alignment. It heals properly, minimizing the risk of lifelong disability or further costly surgeries. Wound vac machines cover even the most gaping wound and by creating a vacuum over it, speed up the healing process and prevent infections. While the benefits of such equipment were clear, the challenge was the high cost. The UNWLA started to work with a few companies that manufacture these devices and has negotiated a significantly lower price: external fixators for $1,000.00 per kit; wound vacs for $3,000.00 per system. We mobilized our efforts to purchase this costly medical aid, which was shipped to Ukrainian hospitals in record time. Ukrainian surgeons put the new equipment to use almost immediately. If the fixators were arriving at night, at 6 am the following day, surgeons were already hard at work installing them. However, even with the reduced prices, the volume of requests for this medical equipment was (and still is) overwhelming.