“The Ministry of Health receives requests for humanitarian aid, mainly for the transfer of medicines, medical equipment and supplies, laboratory equipment, equipment and materials for the treatment of burns” – says AWPE Agnieszka Tuderek-Kuleta from the Ministry of Health. Coordination of activities in the field of support for people in need outside Poland, in accordance with the Act on government administration departments, is carried out by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
As our interlocutor emphasizes, “Poland has committed itself to helping every refugee, including providing Ukrainian citizens with access to most health services on the same terms as insured Polish citizens (apart from health resort care and rehabilitation, as well as administering medicinal products issued to beneficiaries under health policy programmes of the minister responsible for health). It is enough for such a person to present the PESEL number assigned in the Republic of Poland or to submit an appropriate declaration on the right to health care services.
The above solutions were included in the Act on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens in Connection with the Armed Conflict on the Territory of that State. The Act regulates the issues of Ukrainian citizens’ access to medical care and obtaining prescriptions for reimbursed drugs. “As of February 28, 2023, there were 899 patients from Ukraine in medical entities providing stationary and 24-hour health services (hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, care and treatment facilities, hospices)” – says Agnieszka Tuderek-Kuleta. In addition, pursuant to the above Act, medical care is also available to persons injured as a result of hostilities conducted on the territory of Ukraine (UA soldiers). “The qualification of the wounded and injured persons is carried out in accordance with the procedure for launching an evacuation transport for wounded soldiers from Ukraine carried out by medical train, organization of treatment in medical facilities in Poland and return of soldiers after treatment, based on a notification submitted by the Ukrainian side to the Polish side in order to organization of places for them to provide health care services in medical entities in Poland” – emphasizes the director in the Ministry of Health.
Poland has prepared a medical train that can transport the wounded and sick from the border with Ukraine. It serves e.g. to transport patients from evacuated hospitals in Ukraine or wounded soldiers. The Ministry of Health also allowed Ukrainian citizens to receive the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge. Ukrainians can get vaccinated at mobile vaccination points and at points dedicated to all Poles. Vaccinations against childhood diseases such as measles, rubella and polio were also made available free of charge. This vaccination can be done at your GP. “Persons under the age of 18 staying in the territory of the Republic of Poland for more than three months are obliged to perform preventive vaccinations in accordance with the Preventive Vaccination Programme” – reminds the director at the Ministry of Health. Continuity of long-term medical care is also ensured for all refugees from Ukraine.
In order to optimally provide the best health care to all those in need, including in particular those requiring long-term care, and to coordinate this process, the Minister of Health appointed the Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Health for the transfer of Ukrainian patients residing on the territory of the Republic of Poland for continued treatment outside the Republic of Poland in connection with armed conflict in Ukraine. The role of the Plenipotentiary is mainly to coordinate cooperation between the European Commission and the Republic of Poland in the field of relocation of Ukrainian patients from the territory of Poland to the territory of other Member States of the European Union and the EEA area. In September 2022, the Medevac Hub Jasionka was opened, which was created thanks to the support of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship Office. It is financed by the European Commission, managed by the Polish foundation Polish Center for International Aid, partially equipped by the International Organization for Migration, and its organizational and operational assumptions were developed jointly by the European Commission and the World Health Organization, in a process coordinated by the Ministry of Health. “The hub increases the safety of relocated people by providing accommodation and care for traveling patients and their family members, and allows for better planning of the relocation process. The hub can accommodate up to about 20 patients and about 30 accompanying persons who use the medical evacuation procedure to EU/EEA countries. Hub can also accept up to 20 patients who have completed treatment in Poland or EU countries and want to return to Ukraine (patient repatriation)” – says Agnieszka Tuderek-Kuleta.
Patients from Ukraine come to HUB mainly thanks to the involvement of the Humanosh MedEvacuation organization, which implements approx. 90% of evacuations from Ukraine to Poland for further relocation of patients to other EU/EEA countries.
“The Ministry of Health receives requests for humanitarian aid, mainly for the provision of medicines, medical equipment and supplies, laboratory equipment, equipment and materials for the treatment of burns” – reports the director at the Ministry of Health. Coordination of activities in the field of support for people in need outside Poland, in accordance with the Act on government administration departments, is carried out by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. At the same time, each such request is also forwarded to the Emergency Response Coordination Centre, operating under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
“The Ukrainian side, at every opportunity, whether during stationary meetings, on-line meetings or correspondence addressed to the Ministry of Health, expresses thanks for help, support and excellent cooperation. Gratitude is shown both at the level of contacts at the level of health ministers, director level and working contacts ” – emphasizes Agnieszka Tuderek-Kuleta.