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Yana Karp's cousin, Alya Muratov, and her two sons (14 and 9) on the beach in Tallin, Estonia where they stayed for two weeks during their travel to the U.S. Her husband remained on the ground in Uzhhorod, helping with the clinic.

Join GBMC Sonographer in Bringing Medicine to Ukrainian Mothers and Families

May 8, 2022

To join us in supporting this effort and chronically, seriously ill refugees in Ukraine, please consider a donation.

Fleeing your home country during a military invasion is stressful and traumatic, to say the least, but to try and manage a chronic illness or cancer treatments on top of that can seem impossible.

Highly specialized medical professionals at the Uzhhorod City Polyclinic were already treating their 120,000 residents who have chronic or serious illness, but medicinal needs became critical when the city absorbed 60,000 refugees from other parts of Ukraine following Russian invasion—80% of which are women, small children or elderly.

Mother and GBMC sonographer Yana Karp wants to do something about it.

Yana came to the United States from Ukraine in 1989. She has three grown sons, a lovely home and a 25-year career at GBMC. It has been more than 30 years since she moved to the U.S., but, right now, her heart lies with her birth country more than ever.

“When I left it was still part of Soviet Union. I’m so proud of them that they have grown. They were the little children of former Soviet Union, but they have grown mature and resilient. I want them to succeed,” she said. “It’s a beautiful country. I’m so proud of them, especially now with all this is happening. I’m so proud. It’s been 30 years since I’ve left, and they have become even stronger.”

Yana was recently reunited with her cousin who left her husband in Uzhhorod and traveled for two months through seven countries, sleeping on train floors with their two sons before finally making it through humanitarian passage at the Mexico border. Yana sees firsthand how the war in Ukraine is affecting mothers and, as one herself, she felt compelled to step in.

She originally planned to travel with a fellow GBMC physician to help on the ground, but the hardworking clinicians there expressed a different need.

“They said, ‘We don’t need doctors right now, but we desperately need medicine. We have people dying because they can’t receive cancer treatment, dialysis, or diabetes medicine,’” Yana said. “They would get medicine from Eastern Ukraine as well as from some central pharmaceutical companies, but now they are not getting it and they have a lot of refugees who are coming to town that need medications as well, so they have patients plus refugees that need help.”

The Uzhhorod City Council had been managing the cost of drugs for residents with diabetes, cancer and kidney disease, but the influx of refugees with similar needs has put the city on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.

Nearby pharmacy warehouses are not able to keep up with the demand. Some factories are located in regions with active bombings and the routes to deliver shipments to Uzhhorod are complex and time-consuming. Humanitarian aid, such as Doctors Without Borders, often focus on larger cities.

“We would be very appreciative if you help us with the equipment because this is a very bad situation with the finance abilities in our clinic,” Miroslava Bretsko, medical director of the Uzhhorod Clinic, said in a video message. “We are municipal, and everything is free of charge for the people and now we are unable to provide them with services.”

“People are unable to pay even if they wanted to because they lost their jobs, they lost their families. It’s awful situation for a lot of people in Ukraine and we need to help them,” Olena Chernenko, Founder and CEO of Care of Ukrainian Medical Alliance, added in the same video.

The city of Uzhhorod and its clinicians are doing everything they can to put the patient first, even in the most dire circumstances, which is an edict the GBMC community knows well. GBMC HealthCare supports Yana and this effort to provide medications to Uzhhorod residents and refugees during this period of martial law.

To join us in supporting this effort and chronically, seriously ill refugees in Ukraine, please consider a donation.

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