Solidarity of ophthalmologists from Poland and Ukraine

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With great sacrifice and courage, the Ukrainian people are defending their homeland and territorial integrity against the bestial attack of the Russian occupier.  Heroism alone, however, is not enough. It needs food and medical aid to survive. Ukrainian ophthalmologists lack basic equipment, medicines, disposable and surgical supplies to help injured soldiers and civilians, including children, as a result of the brutal bombardment of Ukraine.

 The Association of Polish Surgeons and Ophthalmologists immediately responded to their appeal and prepared a large consignment of essential medicines, dressing kits, and basic equipment for disinfection, sterilisation, and performing eye procedures. The first transport will set off from Lublin to Lviv on 11 March. The next one is planned for the end of next week.

-The initiative of collecting materials for conservative and surgical treatment of eye injuries was taken by us and the whole board and members of SCOP immediately after receiving an alarming phone call from Dr. Nataliya Preys from Lviv- informs Prof. Robert Rejdak, the president of the Association of Polish Surgeons and Ophthalmologists. – She turned to me as her teacher who had trained her in eye surgery at the European School of Advanced Ophthalmic Studies (ESASO) in Lugano, Switzerland. I know not only her, but also a large group of other Ukrainian eye surgeons and ophthalmologists with whom we have many years of cooperation. Lublin has always been an important centre supporting joint activities between Poland and Ukraine. Our partnership has lasted several decades since the Polish-Ukrainian congress of ophthalmologists in the 1990s, which was organised in Lublin by Professor Zbigniew Zagórski. The last decade has been a period of frequent visits of our colleagues from Ukraine to Lublin in connection with many seminars and educational training courses. We have always been supportive of each other, so now we have a special duty to provide them with the most necessary things to help patients with eye injuries in this tragic time for Ukraine.

The ophthalmologists urgently need a wide variety of dressing supplies and kits, surgical, therapeutic, surgical materials and medicines.  SCOP conducted a rapid collection of these items among manufacturers and companies supplying Polish ophthalmology. Everyone generously joined in this assistance.  A several-ton load, worth several hundred thousand zlotys, is already prepared to go to Lvov, from where it will be distributed to other ophthalmological centres in Ukraine. The person coordinating all these activities is Katarzyna Piondło, managing director of SCOP. All contact details are on the website https://scop.org.pl.

– We had the biggest problem with storing all those donations and also with finding a suitable carrier to deliver the parcel to Lviv,” says Prof. Robert Rejdak. – The board of the SCOP very actively joined in the organisation of our aid and the Lewiatan Group from Bydgoszcz responded to Prof. Bartłomiej Kałużny’s appeal by delivering, for free, this support of Polish ophthalmologists for doctors from Ukraine by means of a tire.  The nobility of domestic and foreign companies operating in Poland knows no limits. In subsequent publications, we will include a list of donors who have given these valuable gifts to Ukrainian ophthalmologists. Every day there are more and more new donors.

SCOP has rented a warehouse to collect more gifts from the collection, which will be successively delivered to Ukraine.  The association bears the storage and logistical costs on its own. Regardless of this collection, ophthalmologists also join in individually with humanitarian aid for the people of Ukraine. 

– We are very grateful to all our partners and donors for this extraordinary generosity. It is our civic duty to help our neighbours in this tragic situation. We will continue to help them for as long as it takes, in full solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine who are so courageously defending their homeland against a bestial assault.

The first transport of donations for Ukrainian ophthalmologists set off from Lublin to Ukraine on Friday 11 March. The next one, at the end of last week. All those who would like to join in this material and financial help for the victims of war are directed to the SCOP website.  (JC)

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