Health ministers of Estonia, 5 more countries emphasize long-term support for Ukraine

  • 2024-05-27
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - At an international health partnership conference in Kyiv, the health ministers of the Baltic states, Finland, Sweden, and Germany emphasized the importance of medical diplomacy in crises and the political will to offer long-term support to Ukraine.

Estonian Health Minister Riina Sikkut said that in addition to political support, cooperation among hospital leaders, doctors, and other healthcare workers is essential for consulting on complex cases, treating war victims outside Ukraine, and sharing trauma treatment experiences with countries not affected by war.

"The Ukrainian healthcare system has to deal with many war casualties daily while also adapting to the long-term needs for prosthetics, rehabilitation, and mental health services, and reforming its hospital network and primary care. Cooperation between healthcare workers and hospitals ensures continuous support, unaffected by political fluctuations," Sikkut said.

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Estonia has sent over 20 million euros worth of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including medicines, first aid supplies, medical equipment for hospitals, face masks, and ambulances. Through development cooperation, Estonia invested eight million euros in Ukraine in 2022. Estonia was among the first countries to begin the physical reconstruction of Ukraine.

Last year, under the leadership of Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko, a hospital partnership was launched, now expanded to include 17 countries and 34 hospitals. The conference showcased examples of ongoing partnerships, including the cooperation between the rehabilitation clinic of East Tallinn Central Hospital and Rivne Hospital.

In 2022, cooperation with Ukrainians to assist their war-injured in Estonia was initiated, with the government allocating three million euros. By the end of 2022, the first patients arrived in Estonia, and to date, 23 war-wounded individuals have received treatment at East Tallinn Central Hospital's post-amputation rehabilitation center. This year, preparations continue for the prosthetics of Ukrainian soldiers.

The countries participating in the conference expressed solidarity and commitment to supporting Ukraine. The next meeting to develop medical cooperation will take place in June in Berlin, where discussions will include the reconstruction of Ukraine and strengthening the health sector's human capital.