Ukrainian specialist advising pregnant refugees at Tallinn hospitals

Kateryna Haliant.
Kateryna Haliant. Source: ERR

A pediatrician from Ukraine who fled to Estonia to escape the war is now advising pregnant women at Tallinn's hospitals.

Kateryna Haliant worked as a pediatrician in Kyiv and has a background in psychological education. She is currently working as a crisis counselor at the maternity hospital in Pelgulinn and at West Tallinn Central Hospital. There are 36 pregnant refugees registered with the centers and 11 babies have been born so far.

Haliant's role is to advise and support women who have arrived in Estonia as refugees. She can speak to her patients in Ukrainian which helps put them at ease in their new surroundings.

"Ukrainian women arrive here under great stress. They have a hard time trusting anyone. Not because there are bad doctors here, they just have a hard time trusting them. But when they hear someone speaking Ukrainian it's much easier for them," she told Thursday's episode of "Ringvaade".

Piret Veerus, head of the women's clinic at West Tallinn Central Hospital, said the new arrivals often need help.

"They are a separate, very complex group of women who have experienced violence," she said.

"She [Haliant] is a highly qualified specialist," Veerus added. "We are very happy that she is ready to share her experience with our patients."

One of Haliant's patients, Veronika, told "Ringvaade" she has struggled with suppressed trauma.

"There was a sense of guilt. And she's helping me get over this right now," Veronika said. "It's hard because I feel like there's a war going on, a lot of people are in danger, but I'm in a safe place here."

Haliant came to Estonia in March with her two-year-old daughter Dominica after the CEO of the Maternity Hospital Foundation (Sünnitusmajade Fond) posted an appeal for a Ukrainian expert on Facebook. She arrived in Tallinn a week later.

Her goal is to do her best to help the war's victims. "To provide support to Ukrainians, especially Ukrainian children. They are the future of Ukraine," she told the newspaper Postimees last month.

Almost 36,000 refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Estonia with the intention to stay for the foreseeable future since February 24.  


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Editor: Helen Wright

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