Andriy Nykonenko and Pirkka Vikatmaa outline how the European Society for Vascular Surgery (ESVS) is helping vascular surgeons in Ukraine continue to provide medical care amidst the ongoing crisis.
The world has been deeply affected by the violent and needless war launched against Ukraine in February of this year, which is continuing to result in devastating injuries and loss of innocent human life. One of the first actions the ESVS took in condemning the Russian invasion was to publish a critical commentary in the European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery (EJVES) entitled ‘Urgent plea for an immediate stop to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and respect for the legacy of Professor Nikolai Volodos’. Nikolai Volodos, the world-renowned pioneer of vascular and endovascular surgical techniques, studied in Ukraine. The Kharkiv Institute where he once worked has sadly been attacked in the countless strikes endured over recent weeks.
The ESVS has been in close communication with Ukrainian colleagues since the beginning of the conflict, through the ESVS Councillor Andriy Nykonenko. In March, a campaign was launched to source and ship essential equipment, medication, vaccines, single-use materials and vascular prostheses required by institutions all over the country. Opening this channel of help was no mean feat and is the result of a combined effort of ESVS representatives, courageous Ukrainian vascular surgeons on the ground, the Finnish Society of Surgery and the support of organisations, hospitals, EU and government bodies. On top of major logistic collaboration with Finnish officials, Uppsala University Hospital, a private donator and Gore Medical supported the project with separate major donations. As we entered the third month of the terrible war, the positive news came that a first delivery of this essential equipment and medication was received on 21 April into the hands of Ukrainian colleagues. Thanks to the active organisation of Andriy Nykonenko and Yurij Jatsyna, the director of the Uzhgorod Regional Hospital (Figure 1), the contents of the truck were distributed among a number of vascular surgery centres who were desperately awaiting this aid.
In an editorial in the May issue of the EJVES, Nykonenko, Maksym Karpusenko from Kharkiv, and Jean-Baptiste Ricco, who participated in the French humanitarian assistance, describe how the war affects the population and vascular surgery.
The ESVS is proud to be able to support this critical project and a second delivery is now in transportation as there continues to be an immense need for further materials. If you or your organisation can donate, the ESVS is collecting funds that will go directly towards this effort. Vascular instruments and material donations are also welcomed. All the relevant information can be found on the ESVS website (www.esvs.org) or by contacting the ESVS office.
Andriy Nykonenko is head of the Surgery Department at Zaporizhzhya State Medical University in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine. He is also an ESVS Councillor.
Pirkka Vikatmaa is a vascular surgeon, chief physician at Helsinki University Hospital in Helsinki, Finland. He is also president of the Finnish Society of Surgery and treasurer of the ESVS.