International Family Medicine Clinic for Refugees in Uzhorod (Ukraine): Our Path

Only 6 months ago, such concepts as Russian aggression against Ukraine, thousands of Ukrainian
civilians killed by the rocket attacks, refugees, migrants and international solidarity with Ukraine
was not known in everyday life. 6 months… and so much has happened.
Since the beginning of Russia’s full scale aggression against Ukraine, when the governments of
different levels were not sure what to do and where they will be the next day of the war , when
Kiev was on the edge of the capture, when millions of people from Eastern and Southern Ukraine
fled through the borders ( including Ukrainian-Slovakia border) trying to save themselves in other
countries of the world, it was our personal initiative with my wife, also a doctor, to find our right
place in this chaos .Simply we could not sit without doing nothing. We started with selecting and
distributing the medications that fled to Ukraine as humanitarian aid from all over the world. Soon
we were joined by a group of our residents, students ( I am a University Assistant Professor) and
family doctors-refugees from the ruined parts of Ukraine. At that time working in shifts we could
provide systematic medical service 24/7 on the border check points, rail way stations of Uzhhorod
and Chop. Soon we organized the first Volunteer medical center in Owl’s Nest (the Centre of
Humanitarian Aid ),then in Rehabilitation Medical Clinic for Children and in shelters which
accommodated the refugees and later in a larger and more comfortable location on Pidgirna
street. Thanks to my numerous international connections, I arranged humanitarian supplies of
scarce medicines and materials from abroad to Ukraine. When the shelves of the local pharmacies
were practically empty, dozens of my international colleagues as volunteers carried medications
and instruments by their cars to Uzhhorod and we distributed the received medical donations all
over Ukraine.
Now after six months of the war we understand the urgent need for health services to the IDPs,
most of whom are elderly, women, and children who have lost homes and income, and sometimes
Thanks to my former professional connections and popularity in the international medical circles
we managed to get the necessary financial support from numerous medical organizations around
the world to implement a project of creating International Family Medicine Clinic for refugees in
Uzhhorod. It is difficult to believe now, but it took us a little bit more than three months to
complete this ambitious Project. 0n 23 of September 2022 ( exactly seven months since the
beginning of Russia’s aggression , and this is very symbolic!) ) we’ll have a Grand opening of the
Clinic. This is one of a few peaceful projects in Ukraine being implemented during the war in such a
short period of time. In addition, this Clinic is very special for Uzhhorod because it is dedicated for
refugees and is to give them free medical services. Now when due to the refugees the population
of Uzhhorod has increased from 100 000 to 160 000, neither of the local clinics is ready to provide
free medical service to the refugees. Besides, the specificity of the clinic is that it combines
medical care with medical education for the students and residents aimed at family medicine. At
last but that is not the least, the Clinic is to provide opportunities to employ volunteers: displaced
doctors and nurses from ruined or occupied areas. Being built by means of international donations
we believe that the Clinic will also become popular among the invited international specialist who
may want to come working temporary in our Clinic or to provide trainings and lectures. Our Clinic
will also provide education for patients. The very fact that the Clinic is about to start working was
thanks to your permanent help!
Unfortunately, according to Ukrainian regulations during the war time within the coming 6 months
the assigned patient’s law will not be financed and during this time we won’t be able to function

as a profit sustainable organization. It means that we’ll have to survive during the coming 6
months, the cost of which will be about Euro 4 000.00 per month.
Welcome to International Family Medicine Clinic in Uzhhorod ( Ukraine) !

Pavlo Kolesnyk MD PhD
Assistant Professor, Head of Family Medicine and Outpatient Care Department of Uzhgorod
National University,
Head of International Department of Ukrainian Association of Family Medicine