The number of Ukrainians dying from burn injuries is surging, according to doctors from the war-ravaged nation pleading with the Australian government to send extra medical support to eastern Europe.
Lviv-based Rudi Myhovych from the Christian Medical Association of Ukraine is coordinating medical teams and supplies to be sent to Ukraine and has brought his campaign to Canberra as the resistance against Russia’s invasion approaches its third anniversary.
He said Ukraine is in grave need of specialist medical expertise, and his organisation is hoping to tap into the world-leading approach to treating burns victims which has been developed in Australia.
“We hope to get [a] team of plastic burns doctors to Ukraine for the short term,” Dr Myhovych told the ABC’s Afternoon Briefing.
“We respect your time and we try to be careful with and maximise all of the help.
“The amount of cases is unbelievable.”
Australian expertise in dealing with burn injuries has been called upon before, including after the devastating Bali bombings in 2002.
Dr Myhovych said Ukrainian doctors had recently been able to learn from US burns doctors, but insisted the already stretched medical system was struggling to cope.
“Not only military burns, but also civilians — when children, because of electricity cut-offs, are playing with candles and … they’re easily inflaming, and we have massive burns,” he said.
“The death rate is horrible, more than 80 per cent.
“[Australia has] wonderful experience and knowledge and products that can help Ukraine.”
Dr Myhovych said the response he had received from the Australian government and medical community had been “extremely positive”, but said a global effort was required to help the Ukrainian people.
“It’s not a Ukrainian conflict, it’s a peace conflict,” he said.
“It’s a world war against democracy, and we have to mobilise, we have to do more.”
Recent fractious debate in the United States about ongoing support for Kyiv has prompted concerns that support for the Ukrainian resistance is waning.
“I’m begging you, please wake up,” Dr Myhovych said, warning other European nations would be at risk if Russia took Ukraine.