News Humanitarian/Medical

Canada Ukraine Surgical Aid Program (CUSAP): First mission since russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine

September 5th to 20th, a team of 30 Canadian medical professionals travelled to Czeladz, Poland to treat Ukraine’s victims of war.

Team (35 individuals) consisted of:

  • Medicine
  • Anesthesia
  • Pharmacy
  • Nursing
  • Procurement/Equipment manager
  • Administration
Image is courtesy of Anka Wrzesnewskyj

The primary goal of the mission was to provide complex reconstructive surgical care to victims of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This was an exploratory (pilot) mission to:

  • Organize and fully equip an expert multidisciplinary Canadian volunteer surgical team
  • Identify a suitable host hospital, and establish the requisite professional collaborations, processes and protocols
  • Develop and implement a method for patient referral, virtual triage, safe transport and repatriation
The host hospital: Powiatowy Zespół Zakładów Opieki Zdrowotnej in Czeladz, Poland // Image is courtesy of Anka Wrzesnewskyj

CUSAP is well supported by volunteers, supporters and donors. Over $1.5 million dollars of equipment and supplies were donated from major companies. Volunteers provided warehouses, physical and monetary support allowing the team to transport over 14,000 tons of medical supplies and equipment.

Logistical planning and arrangements involved multiple levels which included both Ministry of Health in Poland and Ukraine. Licensing, patient documentations and arrangements of transportation were a major focus to ensure the process ran effectively and efficiently.

Image is courtesy of Anka Wrzesnewskyj

The Canadian team together completed numerous virtual patient assessments and an initial outpatient preoperative clinic (September 11, 2022) assessing 45 patients. Patients arrived to Poland in ambulances and were admitted and assessed by both the Canadian and Polish teams. Patients underwent multidisciplinary assessments and preoperative anesthesia evaluations. Where required, surgical plans were developed and operating room bookings were completed.

After 5 days of surgery over 40 extremely complex procedures were performed. The surgeries focused on the reconstruction of post traumatic or post ablative defects and deformities of the face, craniofacial skeleton, and upper and lower extremities. Etiology of the deformities varied, including military and civilians but all were war casualties.

The patients were monitored postoperatively, and provided care by the Canadian ward team consisting of highly qualified physicians and nurses. Team continued to receive daily updates on progress and recovery post-mission, and also provided necessary advice and guidance to leading (Ukrainian) physicians on care for these patients. 

The stories shared by the patients left a mark on the whole team. From a young soldier who was the only survivor after an attack on his brigade, to the woman who lost her home and nearly her life when a missile hit her village on a bright summer day.

The war continues and innocent lives are affected and lost every day. There are many more stories like these and so many more people in need of our help. 

The next CUSAP mission is being planned for the end of the year. Please continue supporting the casualties of this war by donating to CUSAP via Canada-Ukraine Foundation.


Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF) was established in 1995 to coordinate, develop, organize and deliver assistance projects generated by Canadians and directed to Ukraine and to the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada.