The war has affected everyone in Ukraine, but it is particularly cruel to pregnant women.
There is constant stress, as many men are away fighting, and frequent air raid alarms require everyone to descend into shelters. Some pregnant women travel long distances to find safety – a move that can also be stressful, as they are now far from the support of family and friends.
The health effects on pregnant women are stark: Since the beginning of the war, a regional hospital in western Ukraine has seen a significant increase in premature births, from 3.56 percent of all births before the war to 13 percent in the first months after the war began in February.
As well as the increase in premature births, new mothers may have difficulty breastfeeding and accessing medicines and formula for their newborns because of shortages caused by the war. For others, these items may be available but too costly.
By September 2022, Americares had provided 45 tons of medicine and medical supplies valued at $2.8 million to CultureLab for distribution to health facilities in Ukraine. The shipments included medicine and medical supplies needed for safe childbirth, including intravenous fluids, infant formula, vitamins for pregnant and nursing mothers and hygiene products. These medicines and hygiene products were in short supply in Ukraine. If not for Americares support, health centers and patients would be forced to search for these medicines in Ukraine or European Union countries.
“Since the beginning of the war, we have had about 1,500 births in our maternity hospital. We also provided assistance to 470 women who were forced to relocate from the places where hostilities are taking place. With the help of the donation, we were able to provide formula for feeding 400 children …[whose] parents could not afford to buy formula,” said Bohdan Hrytsyshyn, M.D., a doctor at a regional hospital in western Ukraine.
Thanks to the help from Americares, as well as the coordination of partners in Poland, expectant mothers now receive high-quality vitamins, necessary for the development of the baby and the birth of a healthy child.
“The hospital was able to provide much better medical care to the population of Ukraine. The donation helped provide medical care to our patients and their newborns. Moreover, thanks to parenteral nutrition [intravenous treatment], which we also received, we managed to save the lives of our patients. It is very important to my colleagues, who work in adult intensive care,” says Dr. Hrytsyshyn.
The situation is still critical, especially after the October 2022 bombings of the largest cities in Ukraine such as Lviv and Kyiv. Many hospitals ran low or stocked out of critical medicines.
For the latest updates on our work in Ukraine and bordering countries visit our Ukraine response page.
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