Dumfries and Galloway Doctor Gone To Western Ukraine To Help Medical Charity

An emergency medicine doctor from Dumfries and Galloway, Dr Freda Newlands, is one of a team of five who’ve gone out to Ukraine with the frontline medical aid charity, UK-Med.

Dr Newlands, who is based in the Emergency Department at the DRGI, and her colleagues are working with local health providers and international organisations in Ukraine, to establish how best to address the needs of the some of the 6.5 million people who’ve been internally displaced across the country since the conflict began.  Speaking from the airport she said, ‘It’s unbelievable the number of people who’ve had to flee, and unimaginable the physical and emotional trauma they’re going through. So I’m really proud and privileged to go out and do what I can to help.’

Freda visiting Drohobych oupatient clinic Ukraine photo credit Andy Kent

UK-Med Health Director, Dr Ram Vadi has already been out to visit Western Ukraine. ‘‘Our aim is to get primary health care and general surgical services to those people most in need. As the conflict continues and the situation deteriorates this will undoubtedly include delivering trauma care to the war-wounded.

‘From our current information we know the needs are greatest east of Lviv, and we are one of the few NGO’s assessing these areas.   UK-Med can respond in a number of ways which includes setting up a field hospital which can provide out-patient care for around 100 patients a day, embedding highly skilled medical teams in existing hospitals to support the Ukrainian healthcare staff and setting up mobile health clinics which can get to the places where people need it most. This is a long-term response, and the costs will be high.  Which is one of the reasons why, for the first time, we’ve launched a national appeal, aiming to raise £500,000.’

Born of the NHS in 1988, UK-Med has an accredited register from which it can draw on nearly 1000 UK and international doctors, nurses, paramedics and allied health professionals; all highly trained to work in emergencies. Its ability to send conflict-trained surgeons to wherever needed in the world, within 24 hours, is another of its core strengths.

This is Dr Newland’s second deployment with UK-Med, and she’s highly skilled in working in crisis zones, having previously worked in the Rohingya refugee camps, with war wounded patients in North Jordan and training healthcare workers to prepare for mass-casualty events in Gaza. She believes one of the benefits is that it makes her better able to do her job back home. ‘It builds your resilience, your capability, and ability to feel calm. I think it’s very good to have worked in low resource hospitals so that you’re able to appreciate what you’ve got and what’s available at home.’

Money to help UK-Med’s vital lifesaving work can be donated direct at www.uk-med.org

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