“Hospital on Wheels” completes 100th mission
Since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion, medical trains run by Ukrainian Railways and Doctors Without Borders have evacuated 3,000 wounded civilians in Ukraine. This Monday marked the 100th run of medical trains, which played an important role in saving lives during the war. Railway Supply magazine reported this, citing RailFreight.
“When we started medical evacuation train project, we thought we would do some 10 to 20 trips. We didn’t expect to still be moving patients nearly a year later. The needs are still high,” said Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator Christopher Stokes.
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On 26 March 2022, with technical assistance from Doctors Without Borders the first 4-car medical train was equipped in record time to transport injured, sick and traumatized citizens, including children. Within a month, Ukrzaliznytsia provided Doctors Without Borders with a second, even larger train with 8 carriages, which became a ‘full-fledged hospital on wheels’. The train can transport wounded and sick people to safe places, and their health is monitored by special equipment and professional doctors.
The medical train project has been a collaborative effort between Ukrzaliznytsia, Doctors Without Borders, and the Ukrainian Ministry of Health. It features an intensive care car equipped with advanced medical equipment and a full range of necessary medicines, and is staffed by an international team of therapists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses working alongside railway workers. The routes and stops of the train are kept secret for the safety of the medics and evacuees.
“It was a difficult challenge for railway workers, because the world has not had the practice of building evacuation medical trains for a long time, especially in such a short period of time”, says board chairman Lyashchenko. “But we did not have time for long planning, because the war was already in full swing, it was a matter of saving as many lives as possible”.
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