How Ukraine’s Volunteers and Businesses Are Rescuing the Nation from COVID-19

Published in World
Tuesday, 28 April 2020 16:39

The global coronavirus pandemic is a daunting challenge for Ukraine, which has been trying to reform its healthcare system. Its civil society, volunteers and private business have stepped up as usual. UkraineWorld looked into how they are uniting their efforts against the spread of COVID-19 and supporting the country’s most vulnerable.

As Euromaidan and Russia's war against Ukraine have shown, Ukrainians know how to take on imposing adversaries, though this time the enemy is invisible. While the government is expecting humanitarian assistance from China and financial help from international funds, the country's people are doing their part. Since the start of the quarantine on 17 March, numerous private and public initiatives have sprung into action to help the country's healthcare workers, elderly people and those with disabilities.

As of the end of March, Ukrainian hospitals, together with clinics being repurposed into treatment centers, have had less than 4,000 ventilators in Ukraine, according to Ukraine's Chief Sanitary Doctor, Dr. Viktor Liashko.

The urgent need for ventilators and basic protection for medical staff has prompted the private sector to come to the rescue of the country's healthcare system.

Ukraine's top private postal service, Nova Poshta, was one of the first companies to act. The company donated 25 million hryvnias (899 425 USD) to equip hospitals in Poltava Region"Business in our country has never had ideal circumstances," the co-owner of Nova Poshta, Volodymyr Popreshniuk, stated, "But now it's about survival and saving jobs." The founders urged other businessmen to join, and many have. FC Vorskla and the mining company Ferrexpo have agreed to help financially.

Corporate charitable and social actions have become a rescue force in cities across Ukraine. In Lviv, Ukraine's tourist gem of the west, one of the biggest IT companies, SoftServe, directed 10 million hryvnias to hospitals for medicines, equipment and everything necessary in cities which host its offices. Other industry peers have followed their example, including Intellias, which created a special team to track the pandemic situation in Ukraine and pledged to buy coronavirus 10 000 test kits.

At the national level, banks, large businessmen and even oligarchs have joined the fight against the virus. PrivatBank and the founder of Monobank have raised and sent money to buy ventilators for hospitals. Many have started to provide free consultations, free online courses and discounts to ease life for those who have to work or those who are helping the situation by staying home.

In Odesa, a volunteering group called Monsters Corporation is helping local hospitals alongside business and philanthropists. The head of the organization, Kateryna Nozhevnikova, regularly reports on the situation on her Facebook. Volunteers have already supplied thousands of pieces of protective gear and basic sanitary items, and started to help the elderly people who are most at risk.

"In Odesa, there are 5 500 pensioners in need of special care. And there is no way they can leave their houses," posted Yulia Kanazirska, the coordinator of the project Kind Dinner. The anti-crisis centre in Odesa Region, Odesa vs. COVID, mobilised local businesses to supply those most vulnerable with groceries and everyday needs. This is also the main mission of organizations like Starenki [Elderly -ed.], Lifelover, the Sant'Egidio community and Help a Homeless Person.

Different groups of volunteers are also trying to counter the shortage of face masks by sewing them. Some of the initiatives started to help supply Ukrainian soldiers with clothes and equipment in the frontline in 2014 are now raising money for protective gear and ventilators, as well as sewing face masks to combat the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

While dozens of NGOs and newly-emerged initiatives such as Solidarnist have been making every effort to counter the spread of the infectious disease, local governments around Ukraine were forced to respond to the challenge of the coronavirus.

Kyiv alone has more than 12 000 elderly people living by themselves to take care of. The mayor of Kyiv, Vitaliy Klychko, said the city has organized the delivery of groceries, medicines and hygienic necessities for lonely pensioners.

Similar steps have been taken in other regions. For instance, in Rivne Region, the administrative council decided to provide people with disabilities as well as the elderly with all they need to prevent them from coming into contact with other people. Ukraine has also tried to involve its state enterprises. The postal service UkrPoshta and Liki24.com have launched free delivery of medicines to Ukraine's remote villages and towns for the period of quarantine.

Once the quarantine began, public transport was severely limited and soon suspended due to the emergency situation. For this reason, Lviv city council even made an agreement with car services Uklon, Bolt, and Uber to provide free rides for healthcare workers at hospitals that treat patients with the coronavirus. At the end of March, Kyiv Uber Shuttle transformed into Shuttle Heroes, and is providing healthcare workers with free trips with promotional codes distributed through healthcare administrations and the state online service.

Even before the formal measures, Ukrainian car drivers had started to offer free rides for healthcare workers since the start of quarantine measures.

In Kyiv, Chernivtsi, Lviv, Rivne and other regions, they instantly created messenger channels and Facebook groups to help medical personnel get to their workplaces. Andriy Didun, a local businessman from Uzhhorod (Zakarpattia Region), was the first to take this initiative when the public transport was suspended in Uzhhorod. Today, "Pick up a Medic" (or "Help a Medic") is a common act of solidarity across Ukraine that helps healthcare workers to do their jobs.

Despite the coming financial calamity, small businesses have not stood on the sidelines. Together with other entrepreneurs, Didun, who sells mobile phone accessories, managed to raise money and buy necessary protective gear and basic things for infectious disease departments and hospitals.

"The infectious clinics had nothing -- neither gloves, nor masks, nor special clothes," he shared with UkraineWorld. He found the situation with protective clothing difficult because there was a lot of speculatory purchasing on the Internet. "This gear protects against chemicals, not viruses. But we can use it if there are no other options. I have friends in regional hospitals, and the situation is catastrophic there," Didun added.

The personal urge to help is where corporate solidarity started. Khrystyna Zhuk from Lviv decided to hang an announcement in her neighborhood. "I wrote that I could go to the grocery store or the pharmacy, that I would walk dogs and cats for people in high-risk groups, pregnant women, or those suffering from coronary artery disease." Not many asked for her help. "Since the situation is not critical yet," Zhuk assumes, "probably not many people are taking it seriously".

Nevertheless, as the head of the marketing department of La Piec pizzeria, Zhuk started her company's free pizza deliveries to infectious disease clinics and emergency hospitals in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Vinnytsia. "When I saw that they were delivering pizza to doctors for free in Italy, I thought it was a brilliant idea!" she recalled to UkraineWorld. "And that's what we're doing now".

IRYNA MATVIYISHYN
Analyst and journalist at UkraineWorld and Internews Ukraine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read 562 times

Related items

  • Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia regarding the so-called referenda held by the Russian Federation at the territory of Ukraine
    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia strongly condemns so-called referenda held by the Russian Federation at the territory of Ukraine and illegal annexation of these territories which is a clear act to forcefully change the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine.
    Through this yet another illegal action of the Russian Federation, the fundamental principles of international law, protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states, have once again been grossly violated.
    Georgia, who has already been through the experience to forcefully change the internationally recognized borders, will never recognize the so-called illegal referenda conducted in Ukrainian regions and reaffirms its firm and unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
  • EU formally approves additional €5 billion assistance to Ukraine

    The Council of the European Union today formally decided to provide €5 billion of additional macro-financial assistance (MFA) to Ukraine as a matter of urgency.

    On 9 September, at an informal meeting of the Ecofin Council in Prague, EU finance ministers agreed to provide an additional €5 billion in assistance for Ukraine. This additional aid was officially approved today after the necessary formal steps were completed in just 11 days.

    This financial assistance complements other EU support to Ukraine in the humanitarian, development, customs and defence fields.

    This €5 billion macro-financial assistance will be provided to Ukraine in the form of highly concessional long-term loans. It constitutes the second stage in the implementation of the EU’s planned exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine of up to €9 billion, announced by the European Commission this May.

    The EU says a decision on the implementation of the third phase of the Union’s exceptional macro-financial assistance of up to €3 billion will be taken shortly, once the structure of this assistance has been determined.

    Find out more

    Press release

  • Georgian capital hosts int'l conference "Glory to Ukraine"

    A two-day international conference named Glory to Ukraine has kicked off in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, gathering former US diplomats, regional experts, civic activists, and business representatives.

    The 6th conference, hosted by the George W. Bush Institute, the McCain Institute for International Leadership, and the Centre for Economic Policy Research, will focus on Russia’s offensive on Ukraine and the West’s reaction; geopolitical consequences of military aggression; unrest in the region; the war impact on the future of Europe and Russia’s next moves.

    The conference aims for Georgia to keep its priority place in the world and transatlantic agenda, to promote democratic progress and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

    Source: https://1tv.ge/lang/en/news/georgian-capital-hosts-intl-conference-glory-to-ukraine/

  • The 6th Batumi Summer University 2022 – Nuclear Security after Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: New Challenges and Risks

    The impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the nuclear security and nonproliferation order was the primary debate topic of the 6th Batumi Summer University on Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation Issues. Discussions were centered on the conflict’s consequences for national, regional, and global security.

    Internationally renowned academics and researchers have been lecturing and facilitating debates in Batumi every summer for almost seven years. We are proud of our collaboration with academics and learners from Stockholm University, Kings College London, GIPA, Odessa Mechnikov National University, Caucasus University, the University of Georgia, and European University (Georgia), Kutaisi State University, Ilia State University.

    The Batumi Summer University on Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation was founded in 2015 and serves as a forum for networking, learning, and exchange among experts in the nuclear industry, decision-makers, academics, and students. It is a yearly, worldwide event with its headquarters at the Batumi State University. The Civil Council on Defense and Security, Batumi State University, and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority are working together on the proposal.

    By  
  • Ukraine and Moldova: arms trafficking threat in focus in wake of Russian invasion

    The EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), together with Europol, the OSCE, Frontex, UNODC, and law enforcement agencies from Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova last week convened a meeting of the Arms Working Group on fighting the trafficking of weapons, ammunition and explosives from Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.

    The online meeting focused on the assessment of threats related to arms trafficking in Europe, with a particular emphasis on the availability of weapons, as a consequence of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

    Experts from international institutions and law enforcement agencies from Moldova and Ukraine presented the latest cases and trends in the detection of illegal weapons at border crossing posts and in the border area.

    “The main objective of establishing this Group has been a consolidation of the knowledge, experiences, and efforts of Moldovan and Ukrainian law enforcement agencies as well as international actors to strengthen joint countermeasures against the trafficking of weapons, ammunition, explosives and CBRN materials,” saidSlawomir Pichor, Head of EUBAM.

    The purpose of the joint cross-border working group is to assist Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities in effectively countering illicit weapons trafficking and related serious and organised crime in the region and to foster international cooperation.

    Find out more

    Press release

Business News

Silk Road Tbilisi Forum 2015 has started

Silk Road Tbilisi Forum 2015 has started

Silk Road Tbilisi 2015 forum started today. Following the success of the inaugural Routes Silk Road...

Agreement between SES and GEE

Agreement between SES and GEE

A new multi-year agreement was signed between worldwide satellite operator SES and Global Eagle Ente...

Visa free regime to impose for 15 February

Visa free regime to impose for 15 February

The visa regime imposed by Georgia to Iran has been cancelled for 15 February,” -the Deputy Ambassad...

Session of Economic Council was held under the leadership of Prime Minister

Session of Economic Council was held under the leadership of Prime Minister

Plan of acceleration of infrastructural projects, financial support scheme for startups and activiti...

MOST READ

« October 2022 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            

About

The News Agency,
NEWSDAY.GE is
a part of STARVISION
Media Group.
It made its first
appearance on the Internet..More

 

Contact

NEWSDAY Ltd.
Lechkhumi street.43

Georgia,Tbilisi

Phone: (+995 32) 257 91 11
E-mail: avtandil@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Social Media