Canada-Ukraine Foundation

(CUF)

Welcome

By New Pathway -Mar 27, 2019

Ukrainian doctor Vadym Vus (left) during a resuscitation training at the hospital in Alberta

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.

Multi-award winning “Recovery Room”, directed by Adriana Luhovy, received a standing ovation at the Toronto Premiere of the feature documentary film, organized and sponsored by BCU Foundation (Buduchnist Credit Union). With over 300 in attendance, the screening was held at Old Mill Guildhall, on March 22. Among special guests was Andriy Veselovsky, Consul General of Ukraine to Toronto.

Opening welcome remarks were given by the evening’s Master of Ceremony Ivanna Baran-Purkiss, director of corporate communications BCU. She called upon Roman Medyk, chair, board of directors, BCU Foundation who outlined the work of the Foundation in support of Ukrainian Canadian projects and expressed his delight to present “Recovery Room”.

Medyk was followed by special guest Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn, head of the Canadian humanitarian medical mission to Ukraine, organized by the Canada Ukraine Foundation (CUF). Dr. Antonyshyn mentioned the contribution Adriana Luhovy’s documentary is having in telling the story. He gave an overview of the work done by CUF and its president Victor Hetmanczuk, thanking all the medical volunteers that dedicated their time on the medical missions. With many of the volunteers present at film premiere, Dr. Antonyshyn asked the medical professionals in the audience, with whom Adriana worked, to stand, acknowledged with a round of applause. Many of these volunteers were interviewed by Adriana for the documentary, while in Kyiv. Oksana Kuzyshyn, president of the League of Ukrainian Canadian Women, spoke about the upcoming Medical Mission which will be held in Odesa.

Speaking next was special guest Sylvie Monette of KPMG-Montreal, who, through a chance acquaintance and continued friendship with Luhovy, closely followed Adriana’s efforts in making the documentary. Monette, who appears in the film, travelled with Adriana to Ukraine to see first hand the Maidan, meet the soldiers, and learn about the story. She also made a surprise announcement, that Luhovy will be a recipient of a “One Woman Fearless” Award to be presented by Concordia University at the Montreal Women’s Summit, at Loyola campus on April 21. The award is for recognizing a woman living fearlessly, “using her gifts to serve or inspire others”, exemplified by her work on the documentary “Recovery Room”.

Speaking last, Baran-Purkiss called upon Luhovy, after presenting her short biography and mentioning the eleven international awards the documentary has received. Luhovy thanked all present and spoke briefly about giving back to the community; her years of volunteer work as a student with orphan children in Ukraine for Help Us Help the Children. While in New York, having worked for a human rights organization, Adriana received an invitation by CUF to join the CUF medical their mission as their photographer, which resulted in her decision to film, to ensure the story of the ongoing war, its impact and the humanitarian efforts was documented.

Luhovy shared her personal story, overcoming inner hurdles, having been emotionally affected by doing interviews, capturing stories of the wounded soldiers and being in the operating room at the Kyiv Main Military Clinical Hospital, while filming. She also shared, for the first time, how as a student she lived through the horrors at Montreal Dawson College shooting in 2006, fleeing for her life, with the shooter just above her in the College atrium. Flashbacks of both the college shooting and the emotional effect of documenting the stories of the wounded soldiers and medical personnel in Kyiv, still affect her. Adriana thanked BCU Foundation for their generous support of this film project from its early beginnings, the Shevchenko Foundation, as well as the support from many in the community without which the film could not be made. She mentioned the film was a two-and-a-half year team effort, thanking producer-editor Yurij Luhovy, producer Zorianna Hrycenko and Oksana Rozumna, script editor. In Hrycenko’s remarks, she mentioned how the documentary helps reinforce the continued efforts of Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), CUF, and community organizations in helping Ukraine come through a war, now in its fourth year.

During the film screening, the audience sat motionless, amid laughter and tears. After the film, Adriana Luhovy was moved by the warm and spontaneous response. Among remarks about “Recovery Room” were, “an important document that captured both facts and emotions”, and “inspirational, heartbreaking … extremely moving documentary that will ignite global interest about the war in Ukraine and Russian aggressive and its brutal tactics”.

The film was accompanied by an exhibit of over 20 of Adriana’s photographs of the CUF medical missions, brought to Toronto from Montreal by BCU Foundation. A reception followed. The evening was filmed by director Stephan Bandera and his film crew for Forum TV which will air shortly. A Ukrainian-language version of the documentary “Recovery Room” is in production. The documentary is under the patronage of UWC. A screening of “Recovery Room” will be held at Concordia University in Montreal, end of April.

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Defenders of Ukraine

CUF Medical Missions

Holodomor Awareness Tour Project

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