At the XXVI Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians, Alexandra Chyczij, the National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress presented the Shevchenko Medal award to Victor Hetmanczuk, the president, and Roman Petryshyn, a founder of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.
By New Pathway -Mar 6, 2018
The Calgary Branch of UCC organized a “Meet and Greet” fellowship on January 22, 2018 for three visiting medical doctors from Ukraine. The meeting was held in the board room of the Assumption of the BVM Ukrainian Catholic Church, who support cultural events. The University of Calgary had just held a 3-day course “Emergency Medicine for Rural Hospitals.” This was the 34th Annual Conference and was held at the Banff Park Lodge. The vision of this course was to provide clinical topics relevant to physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals who practice in rural communities The Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association (UCPBA) of Calgary co-sponsored this community event.
Bohdan Romaniuk, President of the UCPBA Calgary opened the meeting by welcoming the doctors and shared information about the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF) and its President Victor Hetmanczuk and the phenomenal work that he and the organization is doing with help in Ukraine. The three doctors — Orest Kulenych from Ternopil, Vadym Vus from Rivne and Ihor Zastavnyy from Lviv region, had come to Alberta. Travelling and morally supporting the visitors was Victor Hetmanczuk. CUF has raised millions of dollars in funding for emergency medical assistance to Ukraine, especially to those affected by the war in the Donbas. Both Bohdan Romaniuk, and Victor explained the function of the Canada Ukraine Foundation and how it has been supporting medical help and doctors going to Ukraine to take care of the needs of patients and their families hurt in the war ongoing in Ukraine
Having visited our hospitals in Calgary, the three visiting doctors with amazement in their voices told those present how impressed they were with our Canadian system of healthcare. The availability of buses fitted with medical equipment and supplies that go to rural areas here in Alberta with help to those in need, including our STARS ambulance helicopter service. The sharing of ideas and support of medical staff was another important realization for them. Ukraine’s medical system differs from the Canadian one. The young doctors, and medical students present shared information. For example, the doctors who work in the villages are not allowed to do sutures, they send their patients to hospitals in the nearby cities, yet Danylo a first year medical student at U of C, learned to do them his first day in medical school.
Dr. Semkuley, who with his wife Elaine of Medical Mercy have been going to Ukraine for over 30 years with humanitarian help, compared experiences they had during their visits every May to villages in Western Ukraine and teaching the villagers to help themselves by building and renovating in their villages. Learning how they could improve their facilities on their own, not waiting for the government to help them. It has changed very slowly over the years and sometimes not. Dr. Ihor Zastavnyy mentioned that Ukrainians are starting to understand volunteerism, especially since the Revolution of Dignity and making positive changes by volunteering and organizing volunteer groups.
One of the doctors shared an experience of how it hasn’t changed. While attending to a patient when volunteering for ATO in Eastern Ukraine, a woman from the village learned he was from Western Ukraine and referred to him as Bandera “Banderivets”. She was apprehensive about him caring for her. He, in turn, said let me examine you and then you can judge me. She ended up telling him that she is immediately going to call her friends in Russia and Crimea and tell them that he was normal.
Most rewarding for those of us attending that evening was that we shared our love for Ukraine and wanting Ukraine to have the same level of healthcare that we in Canada are blessed with. In fact, within days Dr. Vadym Vus wrote the following: “Thank you very much for your warm meeting! We are already in our Motherland and it is pleasant to realize that your hearts are open to Ukraine. We will already extend the knowledge, experience and contacts that you have discovered for us. Blessing to your community and waiting to meet with you in Ukraine!” Vadym Vus.
Regarding Donations and Bequests for the Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre
With the winding down of the Children of Chornobyl Canadian Fund (CCCF), the Druzi of Dzherelo are continuing their charitable work under the umbrella of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF).
Please make your future donations to the Centre payable to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and in the memo line write: DZHERELO.
Mail to: Canada-Ukraine Foundation (for Dzherelo Centre), Suite 200, 620 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON, M5S 2H4.
If there are questions, please send an email to [email protected]
Board of Directors
Charitable Number 898992151RR0001
By New Pathway -May 15, 2019 – Victor Hetmanczuk
From May 18 – 27, 2018, Canada-Ukraine Foundation held its 6th medical mission in Ukraine. The mission worked in Odesa and had as its goal to treat individuals injured in the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine and conduct surgical master classes which would contribute to capacity building within Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense medical system. The mission was located at the Military Hospital Clinic Centre of the Southern Region.
Specifically, this project aimed to:
- Provide soldiers and civilians with devastating injuries an opportunity for the most complex surgical reconstructions, to restore function, minimize disfigurement, and enable them to return to assume productive lives.
- Save lives and radically reduce the number of casualties succumbing to their injuries due to inadequate primary trauma care.
- Provide training to local surgeons, anesthetists, and nurses, and provide them with the requisite resources to achieve and maintain a global standard of primary trauma care and post-traumatic deformity reconstruction.
Thankfully, instability in the country and war in Eastern Ukraine didn’t overwhelm treatment capacity in Odesa, the medical mission was carried out as planned. Instability in the country and ongoing war did not directly threaten the safety of the teams during the mission. All postoperative complications have been minimal.
Emails were exchanged between CUF lead surgeon, Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn and Ukrainian surgeons Dr. Fedirko and Dr. Mazur who have both conducted follow-up procedures and continue to offer their services to all of our patients.
The mission achieved:
- Rapid intraoperative education of sophisticated health professionals (local Ukrainian plastic, ENT, maxillofacial and neurosurgeons, anesthetists, operating room staff), providing enhanced beneficiary skill to treat complex trauma and post-traumatic deformity.
- Enhanced beneficiary access to resources required to perform complex trauma and post-trauma reconstruction and in implementing primary trauma life support.
- Total # of direct beneficiaries (people directly trained, impacted, or influenced by the project): 139
- Total # of direct beneficiaries who were women and girls: 33
- Total # of direct beneficiaries who were men and boys: 106
- Total # of indirect beneficiaries: An estimate of 700 people were indirect beneficiaries.
- Medical professionals of the MOD of Ukraine and their patients and their families.
- Families of wounded soldiers and civilians.
- Medical students who attended lectures given by Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn and Dr. Todd Mainprize.
Gender considerations were taken into consideration as much as possible.
- The surgical team travelling from Canada was comprised of both men and women. All professions were represented by both genders, demonstrating that both genders are capable of being great nurses and doctors. We worked closely with both male and female colleagues based on their specialties. We tried to and believe that we did empower women to take on leadership roles in the hospital and within the medical department in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. One way this was done was through one-on-one training between our operating room nurses and their Ukrainian counterparts. Jodi Clements mentored a young Ukrainian nurse teaching her the more advanced responsibilities that she has in the O.R. with the permission of the Ukrainian head nurse.
- Patient recruitment did not differentiate between genders. Soldiers and volunteers injured as a result of the war, requiring the type of medical treatment our team is providing, were considered without preference for one gender over the other. There were very few females.
- Efforts were made to report how many female and male members were part of the training audience. Reporting has been segregated by gender.
While every effort was made to be as inclusive as possible, the reality remains that there are not as many women as men enlisted in the Ukrainian armed forces. Very few women are serving in active duty on the front lines and therefore are not injured as often. Ukraine still has a male dominated military culture where women are not looked upon as equals in many cases. CUF made every effort to empower the women with whom we did come in contact. By taking male nurses and female surgeons with us on our medical missions we wanted to show our Ukrainian colleagues that the stereotype of women being nurses and men being doctors, which is so prevalent in Ukrainian culture, could be successfully altered.
One of our female patients was a volunteer and the other was in her home when it was bombed in Luhansk. The patient whose home was destroyed lost one of her legs and had severe burns on her body. Her hands were affected to the point where it is very difficult.
This was CUF’s first medical mission to Odesa. A lot of preparation work was done including two advance visits to help prepare the hospital and make them understand CUF’s requirements for the mission. Many supplies were collected and purchased in Canada in advance of the mission. Unfortunately, our shipment of 25 large boxes filled with supplies did not arrive on time. Thankfully the team had enough supplies with them and were able to purchase other necessary supplies to make up for this shortage. We were fortunate that we did not have to turn away any surgery thanks to the flexibility of Dr. Antonyshyn and his team and the willingness of the Ukrainian team to help us find and share whatever we needed.
The mission began on a very positive note with the Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine, Mr. Roman Waschuk hosting a kick-off reception along with members of the Operation Unifier team. Over 150 attended the reception. This included various stakeholders in Odesa and many of our counterparts from the Odesa Military Hospital.
Operations took place from Monday to Friday with 3 operating tables running full-out for the 5 days straight. Both teams worked very well together and the mission was deemed a success by both teams. The head of the hospital has invited CUF back again for the same sort of “master class medical mission” whenever we are willing.
By New Pathway -May 3, 2019 – Victor Hetmanczuk,
Activity 4: Surgical observerships in Ukraine and Canada
Our previous missions made it abundantly clear that Ukrainian health professionals required a rapid introduction to global standards of trauma care. Involvement in international organizations which focus on surgical education and research is critical, and we therefore pursued Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen Craniomaxillofacial (AOCMF) membership and training for two key surgeons.
The Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen Foundation (AO Foundation) is an organization led by an international group of surgeons specialized in the treatment of trauma and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Founded in 1958, AO fosters one of the most extensive networks of currently more than 16,000 surgeons, operating room personnel, and scientists in over 100 countries. Their mission is to foster and expand the network of health care professionals in education, research, development and clinical investigation to achieve more effective patient care worldwide. The AOCMF is the division of this organization which focuses on Craniomaxillofacial surgery (https://aocmf.aofoundation.org).
Observerships for 2 Ukrainian surgeons were carried out in Switzerland.
Two lead Ukrainian surgeons attended the AOCMF Principles of Facial Fracture Repair Course in Davos, Switzerland in December 2015 – Drs Igor Fedirko, and Dr. Ivan Pavliuk. Dr. Fedirko is the Head of the Maxillofacial Surgery Department at the Central Military Hospital Clinic in Kyiv where we carry out our surgical missions. Dr. Pavliuk is an associate and full time consultant in the same department. The contribution supports their registration, travel, accommodation and food expenses.
- Both surgeons were supported in their applications to the AOCMF European Faculty.
- Admission to faculty impacts future educational development in trauma surgery in Ukraine:
- The 2 surgeons can sponsor other Ukrainian surgeons for membership to AO and participation in AO courses;
- This greatly facilitates the possibility of organizing and hosting regional AOCMF courses in Kyiv through local faculty (Drs Fedirko and Pavliuk) to educate other Ukrainian trainees.
Activity 5: Ukrainian Trauma Life Support Courses
UTLS is an intensive five-day course consisting of seminars, workshops, practical stations and simulations run in real time. There are 25 students at each course, allocated to five groups of four students and one group of five students. Students receive a manual, already translated into Ukrainian, 4 weeks prior to the start of the course and they are advised to study the manual carefully before attending the course.
Four separate courses were taught by six physicians and licensed paramedics as senior instructors and six Patriot Defence instructor assistants/translators. A total of 97 doctors completed the four course cycles. A total of 100 doctors were registered, however three doctors were forced to leave the courses early due to an unforeseen event (illness, deployment into the ATO). All 97 doctors received certificates of completion that are good for four years.
The goal of this project was to support those that are most severely and profoundly affected by the war in Ukraine, and to provide the requisite skills and resources to those who care for them. Specifically this project aimed to:
- Provide soldiers with devastating injuries an opportunity for the most complex surgical reconstructions, to restore function, minimize disfigurement, and enable them to return to assume productive lives
- Save lives and radically reduce the number of casualties succumbing to their injuries due to inadequate primary trauma care
- Provide training to local surgeons, anesthetists, and nurses, and provide them with the requisite resources to achieve and maintain a global standard of primary trauma care and post-traumatic deformity reconstruction.
All three objectives were achieved with unprecedented success. There is no other country or organization that has been able to implement a surgical mission of this magnitude in Ukraine, or that has had a similar impact on the future development of trauma management in Ukraine. Direct intervention by Canadian health care professionals in mitigating the devastation of war in Ukraine highlights Canada’s foreign policy and humanitarian efforts, and sends a powerful message to Russian aggressors. The unanticipated benefit is the regard that Ukrainian injured, medical professionals, and the population in general have for Canada. The Canadian surgical missions were reported in 148 news broadcasts, videos and publications within Ukraine, and the reception received by Canadian team members was exceptionally cordial and enthusiastic.
The degree to which the Canadian Surgery Mission influenced public opinion within Ukraine was highlighted by a surprise visit by the President of Ukraine and his delegation to the Kyiv Military Hospital while the Canadian Team was operating. President Petro Poroshenko awarded Medals of Merit to three Canadian team members who provided treatment for the wounded ATO warriors in the Main Military Clinical Hospital in the framework of the Ukrainian- Canadian joint initiative. They were as follows: Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn, Dr. Carolyn Levis and Krystina Waler.
In the course of the meeting, the Head of State noted: “Thank you for your care. It is very easy to stay at home and say that you do not care. Your arrival symbolizes that we are not alone in our struggle against the aggressor. You are a symbol of global support for Ukraine”.
The president expressed special gratitude to the people of Canada for helping Ukraine.
The second unanticipated outcome was the recognition of Canadian expertise in organizing and implementing trauma surgery missions by the international medical community. Launching a self-contained multidisciplinary surgical mission to perform surgery of this complexity in a foreign country is distinctly uncommon and has rarely been accomplished with any degree of success. Canadian Mission Team members have been asked to discuss and describe details of the development, organization, management and execution of international surgical missions in various forums: Department of Surgery assemblies in University of Alberta, Edmonton, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, the University of Toronto Global Surgery Program.
Most notably, the successes of the CUF GPSF supported surgery missions have prompted other groups to explore possibilities for humanitarian projects in Ukraine. Members of the U.S. Army approached CUF to share the knowledge that we have gained. A delegation led by Col. Anne L. Naclerio, Deputy Surgeon General for the U.S. Army Europe, observed the CUF medical mission on Thursday, February 25, 2016 after which a meeting took place to discuss possible collaboration moving forward. Pending approvals, Col. Anne L. Naclerio hopes to run a medical mission to treat orthopedic trauma while training Ukrainian military medical professionals to do so effectively themselves.
By New Pathway -Apr 23, 2019 – Victor Hetmanczuk, Canada-Ukraine Foundation.
CUF’s team operates at the Ukrainian Military Hospital.
Photo: Adriana Luhovy
During the missions, we also provided training to military surgeons, surgical trainees and nursing staff at the Central Military Hospital Clinic (CMHCK). These Ukrainian medical personnel are already in the front lines treating war casualties in the country’s foremost trauma centre. All patient consultations and all surgical procedures were performed in collaboration and with the active participation of Ukrainian surgeons and anesthetists. The projected number of people that would be trained and have their surgical skills enhanced was exceeded. There was such a huge thirst for learning and knowledge from our Ukrainian colleagues that people were constantly coming and observing. Operating tables would have up to 20 people surrounding each of them at any given time.
Each of the 2 missions provided direct intensive intraoperative training to the CMHCK staff: 3 anesthetists, 3 anesthesia assistants, 5 surgeons, 3 surgery assistants/trainees, and 2 nurses. In addition to these 16 people, direct intraoperative training and teaching was provided to 65 visiting surgeons, nurses and medical students. Throughout the mission, military neurosurgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, ENT (ear nose and throat), trauma and plastic surgeons and trainees from Kyiv, Odessa, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk came and went. In total, over the two medical missions, 81 people (many that observed the first mission returned to observe during the second mission) were able to enhance their skills through training obtained during the course of the medical missions.
The training was provided according to standards employed in Canada for Continuing Medical Education (CME) and resident training. Ukrainian health professionals actively participated in:
- Patient assessment, physical examination, radiographic examination
- Formulation of treatment plan and surgery preparation
- Discussion of options, variables, risks, and risk management
- Practical demonstration of requisite surgical skills
- Instruction in postop management of pain, infection prophylaxis, etc.
Resident teaching and training is vastly different in Canada and Ukraine, with the Canadian system being much more formal and defined in terms of teaching standards, methods, requirements for competence-based learning, availability of educational resources. One of the unexpected outcomes and legacies of these missions was the demonstration of resident training methods employed in Canada, and the enthusiasm with which local Ukrainian trainees responded to these efforts.
In an effort to maintain and develop this ongoing clinical and educational collaboration across borders, a decision was made to develop a Telemedicine Program. Experience previously obtained in developing live surgery demonstrations for International CME programs (Advanced Craniomaxillofacial Forums) and research of current technology and standards for two way videoconferencing through “Sunnybrook telemedicine” and “Ontario Telemedicine Network” facilitated the design of a telemedicine system that would optimally serve the patient care and educational needs at the Kyiv Main Military Hospital.
The Telemedicine system will be used to:
- Document relevant surgical cases performed by orthopaedic, craniofacial, hand and microsurgeons, and neurosurgeons at Sunnybrook Hospital
- Conduct combined surgical rounds and seminars featuring recorded surgical cases
- Perform remote clinical or radiological consultations
The equipment necessary to establish a telemedicine/ telesurgery link between Ukrainian and Canadian Trauma Centres was selected following presentations and quotes by Stryker Endoscopic Systems and Panasonic. Panasonic was chosen based on quality of product and best price. The system comprises 3 hubs:
- A portable OR cart with camera and video recorder. This will be available to any Sunnybrook OR performing relevant surgery. The recorder allows documentation of data from multiple sources: overhead camera, head cam, and computer (for CT data, and powerpoints)
- Telecommunications Hub at Sunnybrook Hospital
- Telecommunications Hub at Kyiv Main Military Hospital
Panasonic professionals came to Sunnybrook to teach Dr. Antonyshyn the most effective way to set-up and use the equipment. Dr. Antonyshyn shared this information with his Ukrainian colleagues.
The use of two-way videoconferencing and advanced information communication technologies to deliver examinations, treatments, clinical, and education services will allow Sunnybrook Health Sciences in Toronto and the CMHCK to collaborate, share knowledge and consult patient cases for years to come. Dr. Antonyshyn has the same implants, instrument sets and pieces of equipment that were purchased for the CMHCK (to create a centre of excellence in Craniofacial surgery) at Sunnybrook Health Sciences. Since our second medical mission, our colleagues have continued to use the new technologies that were purchased for them. Through telemedicine, Dr. Antontyshyn will continue to train his Ukrainian colleagues to use the new equipment, instruments and implants, that were donated to them, as efficiently and effectively as possible by consulting on specific cases and organizing viewings of his complex surgeries. Dr. Antonyshyn in Canada and Dr. Ihor Fedirko in Ukraine are both committed to using this educational tool for years to come.
Further refinement of these initial efforts and wider adaptation of Telemedicine through Ukrainian Medical teaching centres can potentially revolutionize training of health professionals and delivery of health care. This leaves a legacy.
By New Pathway -Apr 18, 2019 – Victor Hetmanczuk
Canada Ukraine Foundation’s medical missions, which were held in 2015-2016 at the Central Military Hospital Clinic in Kyiv (CMHCK), provided consultations and surgical reconstructions to patients with complex traumatic defects. The missions also aimed to deliver technology, equipment, surgical tools and supplies to create a centre of excellence at the CMHCK. The specific resource deficiencies that restrict delivery of primary trauma care and sophisticated trauma reconstruction in Ukraine were previously identified during two prior CUF-sponsored missions to the CMHCK and a country-wide needs assessment mission performed in April, 2014. This project’s objective was to provide the technology, surgical equipment and supplies, and the device training that ensure maintenance of global standards of care, during the course of surgical missions and in the future.
List of purchased equipment:
- Complete sets of surgery instruments: (purchased in Canada)
- Complete power system for bone cutting and shaping (purchased in Canada)
- Complete Stryker bone fixation system with sufficient hardware and implants to perform surgery for 2 years (purchased in Canada)
- 1 tourniquet to allow bloodless extremity surgery (purchased in Canada)
- 3 reusable cuffs for the tourniquet (purchased in Canada)
- Orbital implants (purchased in Canada)
- Titanium meshes for bone defect reconstruction (purchased in Canada)
- Suction drains (donated in Canada)
- 3 cautery and haemorrhage control systems (purchased in Ukraine)
- 8 bipolar cautery forceps (purchased in Ukraine)
- 2 advanced surgical head-lighting systems (purchased in Ukraine)
- 1 computer system to allow intraoperative visualization of patient CT and other Xray data (purchased in Ukraine)
- 1 pantographic X-ray system (purchased in Ukraine)
- 1 multi-use operating table (purchased in Ukraine)
- 1 portable autoclave for sterilization (purchased in United States)
The capital equipment purchase made possible by GPSF generated a tremendous impetus for industry, institutional and volunteer donations of medical devices and disposables. Hospitals and medical supply companies contributed in-kind donations towards both missions (this includes but is not limited to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Trillium Heath Care providers and St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto). Disposables (sutures, staples, gloves, gowns, drapes, medication, etc worth tens of thousands of dollars) were essential for surgery, and were sent to Ukraine in advance of each of the missions.
Some of the larger donations included:
- Stryker Canada provided us with a grant for equipment and implants for the first medical mission valued at $152, 544 (as mentioned previously).
- Calavera Surgical Design donated $37,500 worth of custom, molds, forming tools, and custom implants for skull defect reconstruction.
- For each mission, Health Partners International Canada provided us with medications to support our mission that valued over $20,000 each.
- $9,000 McGvath Video Laryngoscope
It is important to note that in addition to the purchase and delivery of the latest surgical technology, specific training in the direct application of this technology was provided during the course of both missions.
- Prior to this mission, CT scan images essential for surgery had to be anticipated and printed on photgraphic transparency sheets as hardcopy to be brought to the Operating Room on the day of Surgery. The Canadian mission installed a computer system with the necessary software in the operating room to allow sophisticated CT data visualization intraoperatively.
- Bone fixation systems were grossly deficient and most complications in fracture healing occurred as a direct consequence of inadequate fracture stabilization. The GPSF allowed delivery and implementation of state-of-the-art bone fixation systems which dramatically altered craniofacial fracture repair outcomes.
- Calavera Surgical Design system was specifically designed to facilitate rapid, efficient, durable and anatomically accurate reconstruction of skull defects resulting from gunshot and shrapnel wounds. This provided a very practical and readily adaptable solution for the neurosurgical services.
By New Pathway -Apr 11, 2019 – Victor Hetmanczuk
Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn operates during CUF’s medical mission in Ukraine
Canada Ukraine Foundation has so far held six medical missions in Ukraine. This number includes two missions in Kyiv in 2015-2016 which were held at the Central Military Hospital Clinic in Kyiv (CMHCK) paid by the Canadian government through Global Peace And Security Fund (GPSF).
The main purpose of these two missions was to provide consultations and surgical reconstructions to patients with complex traumatic defects who would otherwise not receive treatment. The missions were carried out as planned and exceeded their targets.
The first surgical mission was completed Oct 21 – Nov 1, 2015. It was overwhelmingly successful:
- 21 Canadian medical professionals participated, including 3 craniofacial surgeons, 1 neurosurgeon, 1 hand microsurgeon, 2 surgical residents, 10 nurses, 2 anesthetists and 1 hand therapist.
- 90 patients with war traumas were seen in consultation. Ukrainian surgeons, anesthetists, nurses and trainees were actively engaged in the triage, management and preoperative assessment for each patient.
- 93 surgical procedures were completed on 38 patients. Detailed intraoperative instruction was provided in a variety of trauma reconstructive procedures. 34 patients underwent hand therapy.
- Ukrainian surgeons, anesthetists and surgical assistants actively scrubbed and participated alongside Canadian specialists in each of the 93 procedures. Three operating tables were run daily from 9 am – 7 pm for 5 consecutive days.
- In addition to those scrubbed and directly assisting in surgery, medical professionals from across Ukraine (other Kyiv hospitals and other military hospitals in Lviv, Odessa, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhya and Dnipropetrovsk) attended surgery for educational purposes. Ukrainian medical students volunteered their time and translated for both missions while being exposed to surgeries and learning opportunities they would have otherwise never had the chance to observe.
- Patient population included 36 military men, one child and one civilian woman. Both the child and the woman were victims of war.
- The value of services provided during the course of this mission was calculated based on the costs to the Ministry of Health if the same services were provided to Canadian patients in Ontario. The OMA Schedule of Benefits and the Ontario Ministry of Health Healthcare Indicator Tool were employed in determining these costs. During this first mission, the value of surgical services provided by Canadian professionals totaled CAD 489,578.10.
The second surgical mission to Kyiv was completed from February 18 – 29, 2016 at the CMHCK. It was extremely successful as well:
- 21 Canadian Medical Professionals participated, including 3 anaesthetists, 3 craniofacial surgeons, 2 hand and micro surgeons, 6 OR nurses, 2 clinic nurses, 3 PACU nurses, 1 hand therapist. The President of Canada Ukraine Foundation, Victor Hetmanczuk, joined the team to observe.
- 105 patients with war trauma were seen in consultation. Ukrainian surgeons, anesthetists, nurses and trainees were actively engaged in the triage, management and preoperative assessment for each patient.
- 61 surgical procedures were completed on 40 patients. Detailed intraoperative instruction was provided in a variety of trauma reconstructive procedures. 39 patients underwent hand therapy.
- Ukrainian surgeons, anesthetists, and surgical assistants actively scrubbed and participated alongside Canadian specialists in each of the 61 procedures. Three operating tables were run daily from 9 am – 7 pm for 5 consecutive days.
- In addition to those scrubbed and directly assisting in surgery, medical professionals from across Ukraine attended the procedures for observation. The amount of time that each person observed or participated in the surgeries varied, based on their experience and particular educational needs or interests. Many of these people attended the first medical mission for observation as well.
As funding from the GPSF did not arrive in time to make many of the purchases, which were needed for the first medical mission in October, Stryker Canada was kind enough to loan CUF power equipment and bone fixation instruments, as well as provide us with an industry grant for implantable materials essential for the success of the first medical mission. Stryker Canada in-kind support was valued at $152, 544. The equipment, which was lent to us, was returned upon arrival back to Canada and the implants were left in Ukraine. The craniofacial bone fixation equipment (the equipment that Stryker had lent to us) was purchased in Canada in time for the second medical mission in February and remains at the CMHCK. 1 of 2
Above: State-of-the-art surgical technology was utilized in reconstructing the most complex casualties of war: 22 yr old male with post shrapnel defect skull, forehead and brow. Pre-op CT scan showing massive skull/forehead defect. Post-op CT showing total skull and orbit reconstruction with custom titanium mesh. Pre-op patient photo demonstrates horrendous deformity. Post-op photo, day 3 post surgery, patient fully ambulatory, with restoration normal features forehead.
By New Pathway -Mar 27, 2019
Victor Hetmanczuk, Canada Ukraine Foundation for New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
Canada Ukraine Foundation has been assisting Ukraine in various medical needs since 2014. The poor conditions of Ukrainian rural medicine have been in the spotlight for quite some time. When President Poroshenko announced in August, 2017, that Ukraine was going to invest into improvements of its rural health system UAH 4 billion (CAD 200M), it was time to start assisting Ukraine in this process. One of the ways to do that was to share the experience of Canada’s rural medicine with Ukrainians.
In September, 2017, CUF’s President Victor Hetmanczuk sent an email to the Acting Minister of Health Dr. Ulana Suprun to propose a project that would bring three rural doctors to the University of Calgary’s annual Emergency Medicine Conference for Rural Hospitals in January 2018.
The Ministry of Health sanctioned the trip in October, 2017. Candidates would be selected through an open contest. They had to work in villages, speak English and write a 300-word motivational letter why they wanted to attend the conference.
Out of 50 clean applications, in December, 2017, Victor Hetmanczuk from CUF and Deputy Minister of Health Oleksandr Linchevskiy picked three successful candidates.
CUF became the sole sponsor and organizer of the project, starting from Canadian visas, travel arrangements to facilitation during the visit. The total budget of the project amounted to CAD $ 14,400.
The Ukrainian doctors participated in the conference on January 19 to 21, 2018, in Banff, Alberta and were able to observe local hospitals and emergency services. As the conference’s sessions progressed, Ukrainian doctors showed genuine interest and asked questions of the main speakers and other participants.
The doctors also visited a hospital in Canmore, population 14,000, and a Community Mental Health clinic located in a shopping centre in Calgary.
At the University of Calgary campus, they watched a live demonstration of the Rural Videoconference Program. This is a series of weekly, one-hour educational sessions via video conference presented by clinical experts. There were over 60 sites connected for this session. Presenter was in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Each presentation was focused on evidence-based information that is directly applicable to rural primary care and hospital environments.
A one-hour meeting was held with the Director of the Continuing Medical Education program who explained to the Ukrainian doctors how the system works in Alberta.
The Banff Rural Hospital was next door to the conference venue, so participants had the workshops in a real emergency room. They also studied the STARS air ambulance system and visited the STARS mobile training bus, parked in the hospital parking lot.
It needs to be noted that Canadian rural hospitals are not equivalent to the Ukrainian ones – there is a big gap in infrastructure and services performed. Some topics at the conference were not applicable for the Ukrainian participants due to current state of affairs in the Ukrainian rural health system. But this gave the doctors valuable information on how the Ukrainian system needs to develop.
One of the participants, Ihor Zastavnyy, a general practitioner from Krakovets, Lviv oblast, noted that a plan needs to be formed for development of Emergency Rooms in Lviv oblast. He was ready to participate in trainings for rural doctors in emergency medical care. He also planned to implement changes at the Krakovets ambulatory based on the medical knowledge he gained at the conference.
A family doctor Vadym Vus from Karpуlivka, Rivne oblast, noted that at the conference he gained information that would allow him to raise the quality and lower the cost of services he provides. In Canada, he obtained numerous contacts for such future endeavors as medical staff exchanges, acquisition of medical devices and cooperation with professional organizations.
The Ukrainian doctors also had a chance to learn about the Ukrainian Canadian community and its history. They visited the Internment Museum in Banff and St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Cultural Centre in Calgary. On one of the evenings, they had a meet and greet session with the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Calgary at The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church. They also were hosted in a private home of a Ukrainian Canadian family for supper.
The long-term impact of the visit on professional careers of the Ukrainian participants and changes to the rural health in their villages is going to be monitored by CUF for at least three years. The participants have already started up an NGO group, Academy of Family Medicine of Ukraine. They are training other doctors about the ICPC-2 (International Classification of Primary Care) program. As events unfold, we will report the results.
Victor Hetmanczuk, Canada Ukraine Foundation for New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
In June 2018, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) and Canada Ukraine Foundation (CUF) announced the successful grant recipients from the Defenders of Ukraine Fund.
A total of $100,000 will be distributed among four projects, to be used for the rehabilitation and benefit of Ukraine’s wounded soldiers and veterans. The successful recipients are:
- Ukrainian Social Academy for “Boots to Business” entrepreneurship training program for veterans
- Donbas ATO Veterans Union, Centre Poruch for psychological support of veterans and their families
- Veterans House for ATO veterans providing temporary shelter and rehabilitation programs
- Pobratymy & Dopomoha Ukraini, “Training in Overcoming Combat Shock Trauma and Preventing PTSD for Veterans”
One key factor in evaluating the projects has been the use of evidence-based methodology by its organizers.
This project followed the training created by Ditte Marcher, Director of Bodynamics International, and is based on the 30 years of experience working in the war zones. The training was first carried out in Denmark for the Danish veterans in 2013-2014. The first training in Ukraine was taught by Ditte Marcher and the Ukrainian assistants in 2015 based on the contract and the request of the Healing War Scars organization. Four groups of veterans graduated the training based on this methodology in 2016, two of these by the “Pobratymy” organization and two groups (1.0 and 2.0) by Healing War Scars.
The training consists of the 4 levels. At each level, the veterans are expected to increase awareness of their own psychological states, start to create the safe places and find safe people; the veterans are provided with the opportunity to find and realize resources for rehabilitation in one’s own body; the participants investigate their own shock history and assimilate the peak experience; the veterans are provided with the opportunity for reorientation and post traumatic growth.
In order to estimate effectiveness at the different training stages, the following physiological evaluation methods have been used: PTSD probability evaluation and symptoms manifestation, Mississippi scale for traumatic reactions evaluations, Dissociation disorder, Depression disorders, Post traumatic growth evaluation and employment Risk and Resiliency Inventory-2.
Pobratymy Report on Peer Support Groups (by Ivona Kostyna)
Under the Defenders of Ukraine Project, from 24th of July till 20th of December 2018, Public Organization Ukrainian Public Union “Pobratymy” has conducted 44 Peer Support Groups for veterans and their spouses on a regular basis at the Veteran Hub in Kyiv. Throughout the project, there were 157 veterans and 182 wives involved.
The support groups were held as open meetings based on the “Peer-to-peer” principal. Peer Support Group is a special format of group work, where members of the group can share their experiences and difficulties not only about warfare and waiting for their spouses from war, but also the experience of the consequences of the traumatic events.
There are some rules established such as confidentiality, the prohibition of alcohol and drugs, the criticism of the participants of the peer support group, giving advice and political discussions.
The groups were led by professional psychologist and veteran Andriy Kozinchuk while the graduates of past psychotherapeutic training organized by Pobratymy and volunteers from veterans or their wives assisted.
Groups have been given the opportunity to free up from the behavior of aggression, receive support from individuals with related experience and verbalize those topics that are not widely spoken in society. Fear, the lack of identification in civil activities, anxiety, feeling of guilt, lack of emotions or aggressive behavior towards loved ones are the main topics that rise at peer support groups. The participants have been given the opportunity not only to think about these kinds of unpopular topics, but to talk about them. A peer support group is a place where you can say everything you cannot say anywhere else and feel secure.
As a result of peer support groups, three veterans discovered new kinds of activities for themselves and five veterans strengthened themselves in their actual activities. According to their words, relations in their families have improved and the level of communication with children has increased. We can’t affirm that this was all because of peer support groups, but the indirect influence of it was confirmed by the participants themselves.
Personal stories (Written with the permission of the participants):
Oleksiy, 26 years old. He was seriously injured, due to that he is limited in heavy physical activity. He had problems communicating with his family. To solve this problem, he had to go to a psychiatric hospital. With the support of the group, he overcame communication problems, successfully passed a course of treatment in a psychiatric hospital and discovered a new activity for himself – a sand therapy.
Andriy, 36 years old. He had difficulties in the family and at work. Through systematic meetings, he improved communication with his wife, solved the issues at work and took new projects. Andriy has a strong desire to be a co-trainer of the Peer Support Group.
Each member of the group has its own story and is proud of it. We at Pobratymy and Dopomoha Ukraini are proud of our participants.
To continue the program in 2019, Canada Ukraine Foundation requests assistance to raise $26,000. Tax receipts available.