Estonia has capacity to treat Ukraine war amputees through 2023

Heidi Alasepp.
Heidi Alasepp. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Plans are in place to bring more Ukrainians who have been severely injured, most notably those who have lost a limb, in front-line combat in the course of the Russian invasion of that country.

The government still has nearly €3 million available for this purpose unused from this year, though so far few such cases have arrived in Estonia, though they have been reaching European hospitals in general.

Deputy Secretary General at the Ministry of Social Affairs Heidi Alasepp (pictured) says across Europe as a whole, a thousand wounded Ukrainian people have been brought to hospitals, but the desire is there to help more, including in Estonia. 

Initial plans provide for Estonia giving aid to military personnel who have lost a limb, and also to civilians.

Alasepp said: "We are certainly talking about 20-30 people from the region of Zhytomyr, from the hospital there. In the context of the numbers in Ukraine, where they say officially that 1,500 amputations have taken place, this makes up a very small number."

Chief doctor at the North Estonian Medical Center (PERH) Peep Talving said: "One patient with a traumatic injury, who was injured a month before he came to us, has reached us here, and the hospital's trauma center accepted him and provided treatment."

"Those patients with traumatic injuries have 'miraculously' arrived in Estonia by change, but regional hospital's trauma center of the is always ready, should other such cases arrive," he went on.

Peep Talving. Source: ERR

Transporting wounded from the front to European hospitals is very challenging, he added. First they are taken to Poland, and from there they are flown to, for example, Sweden, Germany or Norway.

The patient he referred to primarily was in need of rehabilitation, and in general "perhaps patients cannot be critical etc., so I do not expect that many of these patients will arrive here.

So far, only a few more seriously injured people have been treated in Estonia since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began nearly 10 months ago.

Heidi Alasepp said that scope for wider cooperation in other ways is viable.

"We have trained teams in [the Ukrainian cities of] Lviv, Kyiv and Dnipro. This cooperation network is actually wider," she said.

At the same time, more patients are needed anyway, to help with the training of medical professionals.

The government allocated €3 million to that end in August, the bulk of which (€2.7 million) is still available, which has prompted the government to earmark it for the same purpose to the end of 2023.

 In addition to the wounded, Estonian hospitals have treated a number of more Ukrainians who arrived here with other health issues, including kidney disease, Peep Talving said.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marijam Mäekivi

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