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Ukraine strengthens medical partnership with Japan in the field of disaster medicine

30 November 2023

The time from the moment first aid is provided at the scene of a disaster to the subsequent transportation and hospitalization of the patient is crucial for saving the lives of the injured and wounded during emergencies. Disaster medicine in Japan has effective medical protocols and standards for emergency services response during emergencies. In particular, there is a system of operational coordination and interaction between rescuers and paramedics who provide first aid and stabilize victims before they are transported to an ambulance or hospital.

During a week-long visit to Tokyo, a delegation from the Ministry of Health of Ukraine learned in detail about the planning and coordination of Japanese medical teams.

The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the work of paramedics and doctors during earthquakes and floods have influenced the modernization of the Japanese medical system. This experience is important for Ukraine, especially in the face of military challenges. The terrorist attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, constant shelling of residential buildings and civilians, and the threat of a nuclear accident require a rapid transformation of Ukraine’s disaster medicine. International partnership in this area allows for faster development of disaster medicine in line with international standards.

“The concept of the “golden hour” in the context of disaster medicine is critically important. Immediate on-site medical care can save lives, stabilize victims and reduce the risk of critical complications and disability. In the summer, the government supported a resolution of the Ministry of Health that divides disaster medicine teams into three types and allows medics to be deployed immediately at the scene of a disaster. For example, when a victim has not been completely freed from the rubble of a building, but paramedics can already provide first aid. Therefore, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine is expanding cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the field of disaster medicine to share experience and develop a highly effective system of medical response during emergencies, which aims to minimize mortality and save as many lives as possible,” said Deputy Minister, Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine Ihor Kuzin during a working visit to Japan.

During the working visit, the Ukrainian delegation visited the Center for Medicine and Disasters based on the rescue service, the coordination center, hospitals, and simulation training of emergency teams that practiced assisting during simulated floods and a subway emergency. The head of the Ukrainian delegation, Ihor Kuzin, held several meetings with government officials and the leadership of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Since March, the Ministry of Health and JICA have purchased 9 magnetic resonance imaging scanners for the country’s medical institutions under two joint projects, 20 cars for primary care facilities in Kharkiv oblast. The supply of special neurosurgical microscopes for hospitals is planned.

Physical and psychological rehabilitation of war victims remains a priority area for further cooperation. They were discussed at the level of the presidents of both countries. Expert consultations are currently underway to finalize projects that will ensure access to quality rehabilitation care for all who need it.