The International Diabetes Federation expresses its unanimous outrage at the ongoing situation in Ukraine and unreservedly condemns the act of aggression visited on the people of Ukraine by Russian forces. We are extremely concerned for people living with diabetes in Ukraine or displaced as a consequence of the unprovoked war.
The bombing of Ukraine, including the attacks on civilians and the bombing of hospitals has severely disrupted care for people with chronic diseases, including the more than 2.3 million people estimated to have been living with diabetes in the country before the invasion.
With widespread damage to infrastructure, people face drug shortages or difficulties in reaching distribution points. Damage to medical facilities will severely hinder the possibility of delivering care. Colleagues in Ukraine working to care for people with diabetes have given us disturbing accounts of the current situation. Ukrainian nationals living with diabetes are defending their country, both in the ranks of territorial defense and on the front lines. They are supplying first aid kits to the front lines, snacks to bomb shelters and new equipment to paediatric endocrinology departments. The Ukrainian Diabetic Federation, an IDF member, has greatly intensified its operations across the country and new regional diabetes organisations are being created.
"On February 24, at the beginning of the war, we experienced grief, tears, the deaths of our children, our elders, our women and our brave soldiers who have stood up to defend their country. In this difficult stage of our lives and the life of our beloved Ukraine, we matured, became wiser, stronger and more attentive to each other. People with diabetes were left alone with their huge burden until they united and helped each other. It was difficult to get access to insulin, test strips for a glucometer, but doctors and volunteers were able to finally regulate the supply for those in need. We are the power! Glory to Ukraine!" Alexander Galaev, director of the Odessa branch of UDF, UDF volunteer since 10 years.
In the aftermath of this war, the medical care structure will need to be rebuilt. Those forced to flee for their lives will need ongoing support in the countries where they seek refuge. We call on healthcare systems to act fast to make sure that refugees with diabetes receive the care they need and to help individuals to normalise their blood glucose to protect against the life-threatening and debilitating complications of diabetes.
Since the start of the crisis, IDF Transnational Member Direct Relief has mobilised its resources to support medical needs in the country as they become known.
In the three months since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces on February 24, 2022, Direct Relief has emerged as one of the largest charitable providers of medical aid to the country, delivering more than 650 tons of medicines and supplies and providing over $14.7 million in direct financial assistance to other organizations in the region. The cash assistance has included direct payments for refugees to cover prescription medication costs, as well as operating funds for health facilities providing care in Ukraine. Aid provided includes 61,148 insulin vials and pens and 78,976 bottles of other diabetes medicines.
IDF will continue to monitor the crisis and collaborate with Direct Relief to fulfill medical needs as it unfolds. If you would like to support the efforts of Direct Relief, financial donations can be made here. (Click on “Direct my donation to” and select “Ukraine crisis”).
The IDF Europe Region has called on all its members to join the Connect Solidarity network to support Ukrainian refugees living with diabetes across Europe. In its first phase, the initiative aims to support IDF Europe Members that wish to help associations in countries neighbouring Ukraine with support, medicines, supplies, etc. For more information, visit https://www.connectsolidarity.eu/
IDF expresses its gratitude to the agencies that have acted fast to deliver medical supplies and aid to support Ukrainian citizens, including IDF partners and members who responded quickly to provide relief.