Bribes are not taken here and no one demands that you bring your own bandages. Doctors volunteering on Maidan have organized a health care system that is impossible to find in state hospitals. Mornings are spent attending lectures; evenings and weekends – taking shifts in the medical tent on Maidan where first aid is given to the activists. A second-year student of the National Medical University named after Bohomolets has been living on this schedule for two months. He says he is tired because of all the sleepless nights, exams and the frost. However, he’s not going to quit what he has started. He assists a doctor who takes care of patients in a tent on Maidan, bandages the injured and takes shifts on the barricades at Hrushevskiy street together with other medical colleagues. He says during this time he has had to provide aid for people with critically high fever, extremely high blood pressure and serious injuries. All of this has however assured him that he has chosen the right and the needed profession. He says this has been an amazing experience.
He is sure that nowadays Ukrainian medical students lack practice. Due to corruption, medical universities have turned into diploma-issuing businesses. He adds that he has come to Maidan to learn his profession and also because of the craving of his heart to change something in the system and in the country.
System based on enthusiasm
Already on the 30th of November, after the violent dispersal of the Maidan, doctors volunteered to create a 24/7 medical service. All information about those who need help on Maidan is transferred here. The granddaughter of Oleksandr Bohomolets (after whom the National Medical University has been named) – Olga Bohomolets – was the initiator and the source of inspiration for this project.
Together with colleagues, she has created a medical center in the Trade Union building. She has created a Facebook page where information about the needs of the medics for taking care of the sick and the injured is posted. Besides this, mobile groups of doctors who take shifts in the heart of the protests have been created. The coordinator of these mobile groups, Hanna Stetsko, has told DW that a hospital has been organized where some of the injured protesters from Hrushevskiy street have been operated on. A number of medical tents providing aid to the protesters have been organized. Apart from professional general practitioners, there are also psychologists there.
We are needed here more
Absolutely all medics on Maidan are volunteers says Stetsko. That’s why these people are so selflessly and enthusiastically giving help to everyone who needs it.
Dmytro, who has come to Maidan from Mykolayiv oblast is working with his friend in a mobile medical group: “What has been created here is unique. People get qualified medical help absolutely for free. That’s why there is no bribery. One man on Maidan has asked for some very specific medicine. All the medical staff tried to find it and finally they did find it. For free.”
Dmytro and his friend are educated lifeguards on water vessels and know perfectly well how to provide first aid. They volunteered without any hesitation to work in the medical service and have spent two weeks taking shifts on Maidan. “It’s a common belief that the South is not protesting. That’s not true. Everyone at home supports us. We came here so that this kind of medicine can be provided in every city and every village, not just on Maidan. We deserve it and we’ll make it happen.” He explains that on Maidan they are needed more than at home right now.
Believing in changes
Medicine, medical equipment and instruments are brought to the medical center of Maidan by ordinary people and sent as help from various organizations. “We could already provide neighbouring countries with cotton wool. We have a large enough stock of everything we need.” – said the coordinator of the medical center Liudmyla Bezverhnia. She stressed that all the medicine is thoroughly sorted by professional pharmacists, stored and then given to the medics and mobile groups according to the needs. “Everything is done by the hands of volunteers and the people who want to change something in this country” – she adds. She believes that the experience of creating a socially-fair health care system can be used for transforming the health care system of the whole country.
Translated by Oksana Poliakova