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Mothers bring light into darkness in Ukraine

By bringing new life to the darkened world. KYIV, Ukraine – Yuliya gently rocked her newborn baby in the damp basement of a Kyiv medical centre. Vera is just days old but her life may be in jeopardy.

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Yuliya: “We are sitting here in basement, we have been crying,” Yuliya said. It’s scary to see the smoke and shelling. We are doing all we can to save our children.

Yuliya spent two days walking from her Kyiv home to reach the Kyiv Regional Perinatal Center. Yuliya was forced to seek out a safe place for her baby because of the violence. She admitted that there were times when she was afraid she wouldn’t make it to the hospital in the midst of the recent shelling and explosions.

She says that she had to travel across forests and fields to deliver her baby. “But God and the doctors saved me. I have a baby and I’m still alive.”

Yuliya is one of many children and women who have sought shelter at the centre. The basement has been converted into a temporary maternity ward. The majority of women who live here leave the basement only when they have to, such as to get water or food. Yuliya saw smoke outside and heard loud explosions when she left the basement the previous time. For fear of being separated, she is afraid to leave her daughter alone at home in the basement.

The centre’s director Nataliya Heynts says that the situation is extremely difficult for families. She says, “It’s impossible for us to prepare for this.” It’s very dark and cold down there, and there aren’t any power outlets.

The centre’s medical staff

Are under extreme pressure. They have to deliver children despite the bombardment outside and sometimes work without power. Some of the staff are already leaving with their families. Nataliya has taken on multiple roles with her colleagues.

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She says, “I work as a chef, a regular doctor, and a surgeon.” “But it is our responsibility to be there and ensure that the centre remains operational.”

The centre offers temporary housing to women who are coming here for treatment. Nataliya states that they “cannot return home” because they “no longer have one.” We’ll have to come up with other solutions.

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WE continues to be present in Ukraine despite the violence. They are delivering supplies and working with partners so that families receive the care they require. WE and the Kyiv City Administration have been working together to supply healthcare equipment, hygiene products, and other supplies to the city’s maternity and children’s hospitals, including this centre.

Nataliya states that she has received oxygen concentrators as well as scales, protective gloves, and gowns. All of this will be used to care for pregnant women, small children, and premature babies currently in our care.

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Yuliya is a first-hand witness to the importance of medical supplies for families. She also says she is desperate for something more.

She says, “I want all of us to be alive.” “I want peace.”

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