Ukraine, INMED, and You
February 25th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
Amid the mushrooming violence throughout Ukraine, who of all is most likely to suffer? The soldiers? Indeed, some have died. The political and business personnel? Certainly, some have already lost fortunes. However, all modern wars are characterized by one frightening consistency: the most vulnerable are most likely to perish. Quoting the British Medical Journal, “In many war zones, violent deaths are often only a tiny proportion of overall deaths. Populations face a deterioration of their already poor health status, and excess deaths from infectious diseases will usually greatly outnumber deaths due to direct violence.” While the invasion of Ukraine only occurred days ago, analysts are already forecasting massive civilian mortality from trauma, cold, pneumonia and diarrhea, and soon, all compounded by starvation.
I witnessed this heart wrenching truth firsthand. In the 1990s I served in the nation of Angola, in southern Africa, best known for its ongoing civil war since 1962. My primary care clinics consistently cared for children suffering from measles, pregnant women febrile from malaria, and them all hungry with chronic malnutrition. Where were the men? Either fighting the war or already in the grave. The vision for INMED to equip healthcare professionals to serve the world’s vulnerable people was born in the context of the Angola Civil War.
What can you do this week on behalf of Ukrainian people? First, consider an immediate gift to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. UNHCR is responsible for coordinating multinational aid for Ukrainians who continue to flee for their lives. UNHCR is almost entirely funded by donations, and I vouch from personal experience in Iraq with the quality of their humanitarian service. Second, offer your time and talent to a refugee care agency in your home city. Refugees typically arrive no money, language skill, or friends. Your assist would be treasured. In the United States, contact the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Finally, consider a long-term investment into the lives of those who are refugees, displaced, chronically ill, or impoverished. The INMED Master’s Degree in International Health (MIH) provides a deep learning experience into the skills necessary to effectively care for and empower such people. Included in the MIH are courses in disaster management, refugee care, and even healthcare for marginalized Americans.
As you proceed today, please remember the family photo posted above. This Ukrainian mother and baby are at extreme risk for death from trauma, cold, pneumonia and diarrhea, and soon, starvation. Our actions today can preserve their lives.