Syrian doctors help Ukrainians prepare for attack

A a few days after the Russians invaded Ukraine, I received a regular message on Twitter. A Syrian man introduced himself as Mustafa Kayyali.

“We are a team of physicians with expertise in paramedics, trauma, and military medicine,” Mustafa wrote. “We have suffered from the wrath of the Russian forces for the last 8 years, and we have taught people to make serious cases, and how to save their lives. We want to help Ukraine. and his people. ”He explained to Syrian doctors that they have an independent experience in treating those injured by chemical weapons. Chemical weapons have been frequently used against civilians in Syria by Bashar al-Assad’s army and the Russian forces supporting him.

I gave Mustafa’s letter to my friends. Two weeks later I was informed that the first training of Syrian doctors for Ukrainian medicine was underway. More followed, and now thousands of Ukrainians have been trained by Syrian doctors about how to treat patients diagnosed with the use of weapons and livelihoods. . The training courses are led by Dr Abdullah Abdulaziz Alhaji, MD, a specialist in wide cutting. He is the president of the Academy of Health Sciences, which was founded in 2011 after the outbreak of the war in Syria to provide medical training to local doctors and citizens. She runs programs in paramedics, nurses and paramedics.

“When the Syrian government attacked our population, we had a problem with a shortage of medical staff. Many doctors were arrested, killed or fled from Syria. We established our own. “Academy with 15 -day short courses, will provide training in early response to trauma. There are no paramedics or paramedics before in Syria,” said Dr Alhaji. “At the time, Assad’s military machine was more powerful – more bombs, more guns, more rocks. The more fighting, the more The Syrians had a problem with the use of chemical weapons, so we taught our students and taught them how to deal with all kinds of injuries. . “

The Academy had to move several times because its location was destroyed by Russian aircraft carriers. He lived in Idlib, a country near the Turkish border now under the control of rebel forces. “For a few months, we looked at the situation in Ukraine, and we thought we would help doctors there,” said Mustafa Kayyali, vice president at the Academy of Health Sciences. “A lot of my colleagues in Ukraine have studied, worked there, and we know it’s a loving country.”

He continued, “We are happy to help, because the people of Syria and Ukraine are fighting the same enemy.”

It was the experience of Syrian doctors with diseases caused by chemical weapons that caught the attention of Ukrainian doctors. As NATO and the U.S. teach that Russia will use banned weapons in Ukraine, there is a growing urge to prepare.

“When Russia started firing on civilians and residents in Ukraine, we lost all false reasoning to stop and act in the form of international humanitarian law,” he said. Mladena Kachurets, a deputy health minister of Ukraine and head of the department. Staff development and education in Dobrobut, one of the largest private offices in Kyiv. He immediately responded to the advice of the Syrian doctors. “We understood that we had to be prepared for the worst, we had to be prepared and we couldn’t let go of the threat of chemical weapons,” Kachurets said. After a public introductory meeting that brought together a small number of Ukrainian and Syrian doctors via video link, the four studies were posted online, open to all medical professionals in Ukraine. The first two events took place in the last ten days.

“There was a lot of interest in these speakers, from doctors and nurses. We advertised the training sessions on the social media, and more than 13,000 people expressed their interest. medical staff from all over Ukraine, as well as medical staff from hospitals in war -torn areas, “Kachurets said.

Read more: What it will take for Ukraine to win the war

“We have posted audio recordings on Facebook and YouTube so that those who cannot walk alive can watch them later. We are working on a Ukrainian translation to ensure that doctors and nurses in Ukraine To date, the recordings have been reviewed more than 30,000 times.More events are planned, including speeches addressed to the Ukrainian public.

Yuliya Shuklina, MD, head of the otolaryngology department at a major hospital in Kyiv, has been living, with hundreds of colleagues, in her hospital building since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, working taking care of the sick and the sick day and night. diseases.

“The war has changed us all,” Drs. According to Shuklina, talking via video phone during a short break in the treatment of patients and before a siren, announcing a flying tour in Kyiv, ends our conversation. “In the early days of the war, I was very confused. I have 26 years of experience working as an otolaryngologist, but I have never worked in the differentiation of patients and the management of war injuries. We study and watch a lot of sermons these days. ”

“I learned how to respond to armed attacks in college, but I forgot because I didn’t think I would use them,” he said. “In meeting with Syrian doctors, I learned how to determine what type of toxin was used and how to provide similar relief. This is very different from a normal injury, if you can “That’s not the case with victims of a chemical attack, you can’t assess the damage with the naked eye.”

“We are very grateful to the Syrian doctors who are sharing their first experience. I am no longer worried about hearing that chemical weapons could be attacked. I have an algorithm that is about to work. Now I know I’m not going to get confused, I’m not going to be depressed, and I can help, ”said Dr. Shuklina’s place. “I hope this knowledge continues.”

After the meetings Drs. Shuklina went to the hospital driver asking them to order antidotes, different from the weapon used. “There is a lot of humanitarian assistance, including medicine, being provided in Ukraine today,” said Kachurets, the former health minister. “But our doctors are putting what they need to take care of people who have had multiple injuries, shrapnel injuries, sore limbs. On their list of necessary supplies, I don’t. to know the protective equipment to prepare for chemical attacks.I think it should be added to the lists, and that a stockpile of antidotes for various types should first be made.

Kayyali, for her part, hopes to organize some private talks for Ukrainian doctors in the future. “If there is a safe place in Ukraine, we will enjoy the trip there and have a face -to -face meeting,” he said. Now, he has a message for his Ukrainian colleagues: be strong and train more people to provide medical assistance.

“War can take a long time, for years, we know the Syrians. For that reason, you need to educate other people, including the masses. People need to be taught to take care of the victims. by weapons and nuclear weapons, ”Kayyali said. “You’re dealing with criminals and you can expect something to come.”

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