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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 20 November, 2019
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Doctors to risk Ukrainian violence to carry out life-saving children's operations

The Irish-funded team say there are willing to run the risk of entering the pro-Russian border region to carry out the urgent operations.

Image: MSTYSLAV.CHERNOV@GMAIL.COM

DESPITE THE ONGOING violence in Ukraine an Irish funded team of cardiac surgeons is preparing to fly to the east of the Ukraine early next week to carry out operations on 60 children suffering from genetic heart defects.

The team is set to fly out next Monday and is made up of internationally renowned specialists from the US, Canada and Nicaragua.

The “mercy mission” is organised by Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International aid agency who state that the operations are so urgent the team are prepared to “run the gauntlet of daily shootings and killings in the secessionist pro-Russian border region.

Cardiac Surgery Volunteer Team Source: MSTYSLAV.CHERNOV@GMAIL.COM

Last month the organisation said the crisis was stopping children get life-saving operations, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith urging the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Éamon Gilmore to intervene in the matter.

Already the operations – twice postponed because of the high level violence in eastern Ukraine – may now go ahead if the volunteer multi-national team of surgeons, can succeed in flying into to the eastern city of Kharkiv.

The news has been greeted with delight by the parents and families of the children.

“They were crying for joy when they heard the team was preparing to fly in to carry out the operations,” said Dr. Igor Polivenok, of Kharkiv Hospital.

“There are no words to express our joy. This will give these children a real chance to live,” he added.

Pavel after life-saving cardiac surgery Pavel after life-saving cardiac surgery.

The surgery programme has been funded by the aid agency over the past ten years and since 2004, €3 million has been raised in Ireland to fund the programme.

The team are in the middle of “intense negotiations” to try to get the team safely in and out of Kharkiv.

Adi Roche with a child after life-saving Cardiac surgery Source: MSTYSLAV.CHERNOV@GMAIL.COM

Adi Roche said:

We know the situation throughout eastern Ukraine is still extremely dangerous but we feel that we cannot turn our backs on the children who so desperately need these operations.We discussed the possibility of moving them to either the Ukrainian capital Kiev or to Minsk in Belarus to have their surgery but logistically this proved to have many difficulties.

The team are hopeful that they will be able to make it in to the country next week, they said.

mstyslav-chernov.com Baby after getting life-saving surgery from the team. Source: Mstyslav Chernov

Related: Children can’t get surgery because of Ukraine crisis, the Irish government is being asked to help>

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