Who are Ukraine's Medical Angels? Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital are the hero's heroes
As Ukraine faces continuous attacks, explosions, and shellings due to Russia's invasion, the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital workers are ready to rush to the frontlines at the first hint of an emergency. To remain ready for a crisis at any point, Ukraine's "medical angels" sleep in a sitting position with their shoes on. The frontline workers hop into their ambulances and hurry to the location as soon as they receive a call for help.
"Some sort of shooting, some sort of attack at a checkpoint, our people will be there," says PFVMH co-founder and supervisory board chairman Gennadiy Druzenko through a walkie-talkie. Born in Kyiv, the 49-year-old is a lawyer-turned-medic. The PFVMH workers make endless trips in and out of red zones to rescue people and take them to safety.
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The Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital is the largest nongovernmental project involving civil health professionals in the provision of medical assistance in the zone of Joint Forces Operation, which is carried out in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. The project is implemented in cooperation with the Health Ministry of Ukraine, the Defense Ministry of Ukraine, and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with support from the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. Have a look at the history of the NGO here. The PFVMH has worked at some of the worst crisis zones, including some of the current war zones in Ukraine.
In a statement released on February 21, the hospital said, "We will fight for every yard of Ukrainian land. We will fight in cities, towns, and villages. The ground will burn under the feet of Russian aggressors in Donbas and Slobozhanshchyna, along the Azov and Black Sea shores, on each side of the Dnipro River, in Siveria, Volyn, Halychyna, Podillia, Bessarabia, and Zakarpattia, in the Polissia swamps and the Dnipro grasslands. We will fight. We will kill the aggressor without either hesitation or pity – in our cities, forests, fields, grasslands, rivers, and lakes. If Putin ventures to attack Ukraine, the Ukrainian land this spring will become red with the Russian blood. We will fight. And we will win because the truth is on our side."
On March 6, they made an announcement asking for armored ambulances, "To avoid risks for the lives of our heroic medics, WE URGENTLY NEED ARMORED AMBULANCES!!! It is just because of their total absence in Ukraine (on the eighth year of the war!!!) we sustain casualties that could (and must) be avoided. HUNDREDS of wounded warriors and civilians die because of the impossibility of being evacuated under enemy fire. Americans, Europeans, other friends of Ukraine!!! We know that you are afraid of the Russians and will not fight with us shoulder to shoulder. But you can help save hundreds of lives of the Russian aggression's victims. To do so, just send the PFVMH dozens of armored ambulances able to evacuate the wounded from the red zone!"
"A PMS ambulance evacuated about 100 people from Irpeny, Buchi, and Gostomel - from the bombed bridge to the nearest Kiev blockade in the Agromata area. Overall, the team in the warehouse of Sergiy Kisil, Suren Avakyan, Victor Belilovecʹ and Taras Pankevich made six evacuations," read a Facebook post by the NGO. "Today between the exit from Kyiv and the entry to Irpin," another post stated.
The London Review Bookshop is holding a fundraiser on March 11, with all proceeds from ticket sales going to the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital. "[Ukrainian flag emoji] FUNDRAISER THIS FRIDAY [Ukrainian flag emoji]. Join us this Friday for a special event with Andrey Kurkov, Peter Pomerantsev & more guests TBA, with all proceeds from ticket sales going to the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital. Find out more and book tickets here," read the tweet.
The Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital is an NGO coordinating the provision of medical care by civilian doctors on the Ukrainian front line. Find out more about their vital work here: https://t.co/c4O5fhVVeU— LRB Bookshop (@LRBbookshop) March 7, 2022
Previously, the people of Belarus raised money and bought two ambulances for the NGO. "With the money raised by the #Belarusians, two reanimobiles for #Ukraine were purchased. The BYSOL Foundation reports that two ambulances will be sent to the First Volunteer Mobile Hospital named after Mikola Pirogov. Reanimobiles will save the lives of the defenders of #Ukraine," said the tweet.
With the money raised by the #Belarusians, two reanimobiles for #Ukraine were purchased. The BYSOL Foundation reports that two ambulances will be sent to the First Volunteer Mobile Hospital named after Mikola Pirogov. Reanimobiles will save the lives of the defenders of #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/RgaoyIQYEX— Voices from Belarus (@VoicesBelarus) March 3, 2022
The PFVMH first started treating the wounded in the country's violent 2014 Maidan Revolution, followed by eight years of screeching in and out of the protracted conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the Eastern enclave of Ukraine, reports New York Post.
"Kyiv is the most beautiful city, and every time I hear a rocket or missile coming, it strikes my heart. I worry a lot about what will happen, but if I must choose between dying in Stalingrad or living in North Korea, I choose dying in Stalingrad. I will not give up on my home," said 45-year-old Oleksandr Klymenko, one of the largest donors to PFVMH.