When an opportunity arose to help with the humanitarian crisis following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Humber College responded.
The Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, which was established by the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF) and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), is providing humanitarian assistance to those in need in Ukraine.
Orest Sushko, director of the Broadcast-Broadband Convergence B²C Lab at Humber’s Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation, recognized the college had a supply of unused, high-quality syringes from previous on-campus COVID-19 vaccination clinics and reached out to CUF in April to inquire if they could be used to assist Ukraine’s strained health-care sector.
"I've lived, worked and toured across Ukraine for the past 30 years including lecturing at several universities as a Fulbright Specialist, so the need to help in this existential crisis is very real,” said Sushko. “In my work in the Ukrainian community, I have come to know CUF as a highly-regarded organization that provides vital medical and humanitarian aid and assistance to Ukraine."
In early April, CUF received seven pallets from Humber containing about 168,000 syringes.
Through CUF's efforts, the syringes had reached Ukraine by the end of the month and were delivered to hospitals in cities where they were needed due to ongoing hostilities at the time.
"I have a colleague, an anesthesiologist, in one of the hospitals. Knowing this joint effort through Humber and CUF has reached places and people I know makes this initiative all the more profound,” Sushko noted.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and now with the war in Ukraine, Humber has worked with our community partners to provide assistance whenever we could," said Tyler Charlebois, director of the Centres of Innovation Network and Partnership Development at Humber College. "We are so pleased that more than 165,000 unused syringes left over from our COVID-19 vaccination clinics were able to be shipped to Ukraine to provide some medical supply relief during the humanitarian crisis happening there."
Charitable organization Patients of Ukraine identified regions in need due to the Russian invasion and the individual hospitals to receive Humber’s donation while Plast Medical Service distributed the syringes.
Oksana Musienko, advisor on communities and partnership development with Patients of Ukraine, said the syringes have been used to administer anesthesia ahead of surgery as well as by ophthalmology and endocrinology departments.
“The assistance was very appropriate, and doctors are grateful for the help and support from Canadian partners,” said Musienko.
CUF has been providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine for more than 25 years. Those interested in donating or who want more information can visit www.cufoundation.ca.