Malayali doctor to lead medical team in war-torn Ukraine


Vishnu Kottangal

Special

Dr Santhosh Kumar | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Many were forced to flock to their own countries in huge numbers in the wake of the war in Ukraine. The country is reeling from the injuries the war has inflicted upon it. A team representing an NGO is all set to fly to Ukraine to extend its helping hand to the people of the war-afflicted nation.

A Malayali, Dr Santhosh Kumar, has been selected to lead this team in the first phase of the mission which lasts two months. He is the Deputy Superintendent of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. He will set off to Ukraine on Tuesday morning. Since air travel is not possible, the medical team will reach Ukraine through Poland by road.

“The main goal is to tackle the issues in the health sector. We have to ensure the availability of primary medicines. Due to the disruption of traffic, many will face a shortage of life-saving medicines. The primary health care of such people is one of our responsibilities. Another area is maternity care. There are a lot of refugees and a section of those will be pregnant women, especially those nearing delivery. We are to provide ample care for these women. Those injured in the war will also be treated by us,” says Dr Santhosh Kumar.

"We all work without taking any payment for our services. I’ve been to 45 different countries so far. I have worked in countries including Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, South Sudan, Chad, Congo and so on. We see doctors from different countries working together for a cause. We learn many new things from these lands of conflict."

“When wars break out, people usually move to safer grounds. But we are supposed to stay there and help when a crisis occurs. But our basic instinct is to flee from such places.”

“We should be alert and should know when to shift and where to shift. Once we know this, we can work towards helping the people in that locality. It is not the fault of the community that war broke out there. We must stand with these people as a society that upholds human values. My opinion is that more people from Kerala should come forward with such selfless services.”

Corrigendum:

The story earlier said that Dr Santhosh Kumar is representing Doctors Without Borders. Kriti Gupta, Press and Research Officer, Médecins Sans Frontières South Asia, clarified that he "is not representing Doctors Without Borders in Ukraine." The PRO also added that "our doctors are paid for their services when they go to work in the field."

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