20 vehicles delivered in just 10 weeks
In barely 10 weeks, 20 ambulances were purchased and delivered in Ukraine. Despite loss of two vehicles in the bombing, this remains a milestone for the volunteers and sponsors of Mission Ihor Vitenko.
Immediately after the Russian invasion, the first ambulances were purchased by volunteers and sponsors of the Mission Ihor Vitenko. The vehicles are taken to Ukraine in small convoys, of 3 to 4 vehicles, and deployed to take victims away from the conflict zones.
Before departure, the vehicles are fully loaded with medical equipment and medicines, which are brought to hospitals in need.
Shortly after the initial deliveries, the mission was faced with a new reality, in which
- In the first few weeks, 2 ambulances were lost in bombings
- The ambulances proved to be a target. Several vehicles came under fire. The distinctive color, which makes the vehicle stand out, proved to be an obstacle. Since then, these have been painted in camouflage colors.
Of these 20 vehicles, most are delivered to take wounded away from the front lines and to safer places for further care.
The Mission Ihor Vitenko is confident that many vehicles will follow. Currently, 2 additional ambulances are being prepared and the purchase of 4 more is underway.
Ihor Vitenko is a wound care specialist of Ukrainian origin. He was affiliated with the AZ Jan Palfijn and has a wound care practice in Heusden. Physician/surgeon in Ukraine, nurse in Belgium.
He returned to his homeland at the outbreak of war and provides support in special wound care techniques. Healing wounds faster and avoiding amputations. These techniques are not known in Ukraine, nor is the equipment available there.
Ihor worked together with two other organizations before the war
- Ukraine Project Edegem vzw (or OPE for short)
- Child Help
These organizations joined hands again to support him in the supply of products and wound pumps (for the purpose of negative pressure therapy). Meanwhile, Ukrainian doctors, nurses and medical students were trained in these techniques. Third-line care was greatly expanded in this way. New operating theaters were furnished with (operating) tables and lamps which were donated and shipped from Belgium.
Centrally located Vinnytsia became the base from which the techniques are deployed. Meanwhile, support is provided to many other hospitals, such as in Zaporizia, Kiev, Chernihiv, Ternopil, Odessa, Mykolajiv and Poltava.
Belgian hospitals, specialists, medical sector companies, postal services (both in Belgium and Ukraine) contribute to the operation of this mission.
What started as a doctor leaving for Ukraine evolved in a few weeks into an organization with more than a hundred volunteers in Belgium and in Ukraine. That’s the story of the start of Mission Ihor Vitenko.
More info and pictures can be found on the social media channels of the organizations cooperating in this mission.