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Medical Humanitarian Programme MEDEVAC

MEDEVAC is a permanent government programme of the Czech Republic, which focuses on providing medical care and assistance for vulnerable groups of persons in the countries affected by migration or burdened by a large number of refugees. The care provided is free of charge and exclusively for civilians - persons, who are in dire of such medical care or whose condition prevents them from leading a dignified life. 

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MEDEVAC in 2019

The MEDEVAC Czech Programme in the 2019

  • 21 medical teams deployed abroad (Bulovka Hospital, General University Hospital, Hradec Králové University Hospital, Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Motol University Hospital, Military University Hospital, Olomouc University Hospital, Vinohrady University Hospital)
  • 774 patients operated abroad (ENT, gyneacology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, paediatric heart surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, traumatology)
  • Nearly 1200 expert diagnostic examinations
  • 205 non-invasive interventions as a substitution for surgery
  • 3 reconnaissance missions abroad (Ethiopia,  Ghana, Morocco)
  • 4 expert internships of foreign medical staff at Czech hospitals (15 individuals from Ethiopia, Morocco, Ukraine)
  • 5 training sessions for foreign medical staff in Ethiopia and Ukraine (177 attendees)
  • 1 pre-selection mission in Lebanon
  • 2 supported project to enhance the infrastructure totaling approx. 10 mil. CZK in Burkina Faso and Mauritania in partnership with  Light for the World and Lutheran World Federation
  • Participation of MEDEVAC Czech Programme at European Development Days in Brussels and at European Days in Prague
  • 7 times exhibition of Flying Doctors in CZ, 1 time abroad(NYC)

  

Jordan / Bulovka Hospital - Orthopaedics (January 30th - February 8th, 2019)

The first mission of the MEDEVAC programme in 2019 was launched by an orthopaedic team led by Prof. Chomiak in Amman, Jordan. At total of 45 patients with post-trauma, congenital and degenerative defects of the muscular skeletal system underwent the selection process conducted by the four-member team from Bulovka Hospital, which has been a permanent participant in the programme since 2014. After careful deliberation, 19 of them were selected. In the end, due to illness only 18 patients were operated on, with a total of 22 surgical procedures performed.
 

Ukraine / General University Hospital - Physiotherapy (February 4th - February 7th, 2019)

At the beginning of February, a physiotherapist, ergotherapist and nurse training mission took place in Kiev. The mission consisted of lectures for the personnel of Kiev Regional Hospital and educators from Ukrainian departments of physiotherapy. The mission also involved work by the Czech team with complicated cases chosen from among hospital patients. During the trip, interviews were conducted with candidates for internships in the Czech Republic. In the end, 5 interns from among Ukrainian educators and three interns from the Kiev Regional Hospital staff were chosen.
 

Lebanon / General University Hospital - Ophthalmology (February 26th - March 1st, 2019)

A MEDEVAC pre-selection mission took place with the aim of creating a mechanism for pre-selection of patients for future ophthalmology missions. MUDr. Petr Sklenka, a doctor from the General University Hospital, examined a total of 63 persons, 34 of whom were selected for a cataract operation. This mission was followed by the first medical mission in mid March when the operations themselves were performed.
 

Lebanon / General University Hospital - Ophthalmology (March 18th - March 29th, 2019)

The ophthalmology team from the General UH conducted their first mission which was also the very first MEDEVAC mission in Lebanon. During ten days of operations, a total of 83 patients had grey cataract operations, primarily Syrian refugees and socially disadvantaged Lebanese who otherwise would have no access to such treatment. Despite the fact that some cases were fairly complicated, all procedures took place without any serious complications. During these operations, the Czech medical team used new ophthalmological apparatus that was bought for the Lebanese partner hospital (Rafik Hariri University Hospital) under the MEDEVAC programme last year.
 

Ethiopia / Hradec Králové UH, Military University Hospital, Hospimed - Technician training (March 18th - March 23rd, 2019)

The second half of March saw the first MEDEVAC mission in Ethiopia which focused on assistance of local personnel in the area of repairs and diagnosis of defects in medical apparatus. Over the course of 4 days, three biomedicine engineers from Hradec Králové UH, the Military UH and Hospimed, who trained local personnel and checked the functioning of the apparatus in the ophthalmology department of Menelik II State Hospital.
 

Senegal / General University Hospital - Traumatology (March 26th - April 7th, 2019)

Between 26th March and 7th April, the first traumatology mission visited the Senegalese city of Thiés. A team comprising three surgeons, one nurse and one physiotherapist targeted patients with fractures of the lower limbs. Mostly this involved complications with fracture healing (false joints, infected fractures, badly-aligned healed fractures) which, given the local conditions with limited apparatus, the hospital in Thiés was not able to treat alone. In all, operations were performed on 20 patients from socially disadvantaged areas.
 

Jordan / Military University Hospital - Ophthalmology (March 28th - April 7th, 2019)

Although the Military University Hospital team has only been participating in the programme since 2017, it soon established itself as one of the best. The two-person team comprising doc. Jiří Pašta and instrument nurse Věra Pilíková visited Al Khalidi Hospital for the fourth time already and during eight operation days managed to operate on 144 patients (82 men / 62 women) simultaneously in two operation theatres. One fifth concerned congenital syndromes, the remaining patients had late stage cataracts removed.
 

Jordan / Motol UH - Paediatric heart surgery (April 1st - April 9th, 2019)

The Motol UH Paediatric Cardiac team was the first team to launch a medical mission abroad under the MEDEVAC programme. They have been travelling to Jordan regularly since 2013. This year, a three-member team led by MUDr. Bukovský operated on a total of 13 patients with congenital heart defects during 6 operation days. The patients’ ages ranged from 3 months to 18 years old and operations were responsible not for only improving the quality of their lives, but in some cases for actually saving their lives, because without the intervention of Czech doctors, the children would have died within a couple of months.
 

Jordan / Olomouc UH - Traumatology (April 3rd - April 12th, 2019)

In April, a three-member team of traumatologists from Olomouc UH also visited Jordan. Led by MUDr. Špiroch, the team operated in the new Shmaisani Hospital. This hospital was chosen on the basis of preceding reconnaissance trips, thereby increasing the portfolio of hospitals where MEDEVAC in Jordan. During pre-selection, the team examined 65 persons with post-trauma injuries, suffering from false joints and congenital defects. In the following 6 operation days, a record 28 patients had a total of 30 operations. Collaboration with the new hospital, as with the contracted doctor Dr. Al-Qsous, was excellent and we look forward to it continuing in the future.
 

Ukraine / General University Hospital - Physiotherapy and ergotherapy lecturer training (May 6th - May 24th, 2019)

Training newly includes the academic aspect of physiotherapy and ergotherapy. Five lecturers from Ukrainian universities who were familiarised with tuition methods in the fields in the Czech Republic and their practical application. They will be able to share the experienced gained with their colleagues and students in Ukraine.
 

Ukraine / Bulovka Hospital - Physiotherapist training (May 13th - May 24th, 2019)

A visit by physiotherapists to Bulovka Hospital served to deepen their knowledge and practical skills gained in previous internships. Organisation and cooperation between doctor, physiotherapist and nurse is essential for physiotherapy – the doctor must first prescribe appropriate rehabilitation, the physiotherapist must perform the exercises correctly with the patient and the nurse ensures correct positioning and all-day care for the patient. Such cooperation is not ideal in the Kiev Regional Hospital, a for this reason an orthopaedic doctor also arrived for an internship to see for himself organisation of work, so he might apply the same model in his own hospital in Ukraine.
 

Ghana / Bulovka Hospital, Olomouc UH, UH Vinohrady - Reconnaissance mission (May 20th - May 24th, 2019)

Between May 23th and 24th, the first reconnaissance mission for the MEDEVAC programme visited the Republic of Ghana. The team comprised a team of specialists in various fields: an infectologist from Bulovka Hospital, a plastic and reconstruction surgeon from Vinohrady UH, a gynaecologist from Bulovka Hospital and a traumatologist from Olomouc UH. Three hospitals were visited over the course of four days in order to establish how well equipped they were and to establish a potential partnership for future execution of missions. At the same time a meeting took place with representatives of the UNHCR regarding the issue of mobility of refugee patients from neighbouring Burkina Faso and Togo.
The first real mission in Ghana is planned for December 2019.
 

Morocco / Motol University Hospital, Bulovka Hospital - Reconnaissance Mission (July 17th - July 19th 2019)

In mid-July, the MEDEVAC team, consisting of representatives of 3 medical specialisations from the Motol UH (children’s cardiac surgery) and the Bulovka Hospital (orthopaedics and plastic surgery), was deployed on a reconnaissance mission to Morocco. Over a period of 3 days, the team visited 3 public hospitals in Rabat, Marrakesh and Casablanca. The goal of the mission was to find a suitable partner hospital for the implementation of future missions and the related training. The Programme had already operated in Morocco in the past but the goal is to focus not only on providing assistance to the Moroccan population and the local medical care system but also on providing care to refugees who are currently present in the country.
 

Jordan / Vinohrady University Hospital, Bulovka Hospital - Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (September 4th - September 14th, 2019)

The first specialisation deployed in autumn was plastic and reconstructive surgery; these specialists went on a joint mission of the Vinohrady UH and the Bulovka Hospital to Jordan. The tree-person team, consisting of the chief physicians prof. Sukop and MUDr. Molitor and the scrub nurse Hana Váňová, examined 36 patients, predominantly children who mostly suffered from extensive burns at the time of the pre-selection. Eventually, 18 of them, predominantly from among Syrian refugees and poor Jordanians, underwent surgery in the Al Khalidi Hospital based in Amman.
 

Ukraine / General University Hospital, Bulovka Hospital - Physical Therapy Training (September 10th - September 13th, 2019)

This visit to the Kiev Regional Hospital built on the previous training received by Ukrainian physical therapists and members of medical staff in Kiev and Prague. Teams from two Czech hospitals - the General UN in Prague and the Bulovka Hospital - participated in the mission. More than 40 persons from among the local medical staff, including nurses, physicians and speech therapists, in addition to physical therapists, received the training in the form of lectures, workshops and practical exercises. In 2020, the professional trainings and educational stays will continue both in Ukraine and in the Czech Republic. The activities of the MEDEVAC Programme will also newly focus on the academic sphere in the form of lectures at selected Ukrainian universities for students and lecturers, which will help to establish the field of physical therapy in Ukraine effectively and on a long-term basis.
 

Jordan / Military University Hospital - Orthopaedics (September 11th - September 19th, 2019)

The mission of orthopaedists from the Military UH, which took place from the 11th through to the 19th September, followed up on the September mission of plastic surgeons in the same hospital. A four-person team consisting of the chief physician MUDr. Vaněček, the surgeon MUDr. Vašek, the anaesthesiologist MUDr. Henlín and the instrument nurse Stanislav Žáček examined 49 patients during the pre-selection. The following days were filled with joint replacements, knee drilling and joint replacements. Some surgeries even corrected distorted feet. 16 patients of all ages were operated on and another 16 patients received non-invasive treatment (injections into knees/shoulders as a form of joint replacement). All surgeries ended exceedingly well and so the four-person team was able to return to Czechia after the final check-ups.
 

Ethiopia / Hradec Králové University Hospital, Military University Hospital, Hospimed - Technician Training, Motol University Hospital - Reconnaissance Trip (September 23rd - September 27th, 2019)

From the 22nd to the 29th September, a three-person team of biomedical engineers from the Hradec Králové UH, the Military UH and the Hospimed Company went to Ethiopia for the second time this year. During the one-week seminars in the Menelik II Hospital in Addis Ababa, the team consisting of Ing. Mikeš, Ing. Buršík and Ing. Zalužanský trained 23 technicians from a total of 10 public hospitals based in the capital city. During the training, the trainees learned, among other things, how magnetic resonance, the anaesthesia apparatus or phacoemulsification devices works. During the practical exercises, they were also able to try working with laser, microscopes or soldering instruments. The 10 most successful ones were awarded certificates. The training helped to improve the quality of care in local hospitals where there is a lot of non-functional apparatuses.
The visit included a reconnaissance mission to the Black Lion University hospital, during which prof. Tláskal from the Motol UH was identifying opportunities for future cooperation between the two hospitals in children’s cardiac surgery. During the visit, he took a look at the reconstructed department of cardiology and cardiac surgery as well as a building designed for treating cardiac diseases, which was under construction and which should be completed within 2 years and should be the largest of its kind in East Africa. Although the hospital situated in the capital city is equipped with modern apparatuses, consumables and medicines, which are very difficult to obtain in Ethiopia, this being a primary issue of the local healthcare system - there is a lack of suppliers, and basic necessities such as gloves, surgical masks or shoe covers are imported to this country in a complicated manner.
 

Senegal / Olomouc University Hospital - Traumatology (October 21st - October 31st, 2019)

This year’s second mission to Senegal took place traditionally in the city of Thiés, the third largest city in this country. The team from the Olomouc University Hospital who had already had extensive experience from Jordan carried out their first mission here. The three-person team consisting of MUDr. Korpa, MUDr. Kovařík and the instrument nurse Jaromíra Havránková operated on a total of 20 patients, in spite of the difficult conditions in the Centre Universitaire Regional de Thies public hospital, caused for example by a broken X-ray machine and high outdoor temperature levels. The patients were mostly victims of traffic accidents with lower limb injuries; these accidents are usually the result of the absence of transport infrastructure.
 

Iraq / IKEM - Infectology Training (October 21st - October 27th, 2019)

After a two-year pause, the MEDEVAC Programme went to Iraq once again in order to provide training in infectology. Dr. Smejkal from the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) gave lectures at selected university hospitals in Erbil and its surroundings. Over a period of five days, 43 members of medical staff attended the lectures on the correct administration of antibiotics and possible resistance of microorganisms. The lectures had been originally planned for various places around the country, including the capital city of Baghdad and the central Iraq. Regrettably, due to civil unrest in the region, we were forced to limit the training to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
 

Jordan / Hradec Králové University Hospital - Ophthalmology (October 29th - November 8th, 2019)

A three-person team consisting of prof. Jirásková, MUDr. Marák and the instrument nurse Leona Kvasničková performed surgeries on an impressive number of 240 persons with advanced cataract in the Al Khalidi Hospital in Amman over a period of eight days. The surgeries were carried out without serious complications and all patients returned to their homes on the same day.
 

Jordan / General University Hospital - Traumatology + Training (October 29th - November 8th, 2019)

A four-person team consisting of MUDr. Burget, MUDr. Petr Baňař, the instrument nurse Daniela Pravdová and the physical therapist Petra Nováková examined a record number of 78 patients, predominantly from among Syrian refugees and poor Jordanians, in the Shmaisani Hospital. From among them, the team selected 25 patients for surgery and 14 patients for application of special injections, which served as knee joint replacements. Collaboration with UNHCR Jordan, which supplied some of the patients from the Zaatari and Azraq refugee camps, was a new development in this respect.
The mission was also accompanied by training in the public Jordan University Hospital where MUDr. Burget, the head of the mission, trained 18 members of medical staff over a period of several hours, for example, in how to act in the event of mass accidents and what steps the hospital should take in such an event. This was historically the first collaboration with this hospital and, most importantly, the first training in Jordan, which we would like to keep including in our future missions.
 

Morocco / Vinohrady University Hospital, Bulovka Hospital - Training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Czech Republic (November 18th - November 29th, 2019)

In the second half of November, 3 Moroccan surgeons arrived in Prague for a two-week educational stay to be trained in plastic and reconstructive surgery. During their stay, they visited the facilities of the Vinohrady UH and the Bulovka Hospital where they learned about the surgical procedures and the treatment methods used in the Czech Republic, with an emphasis on maxillofacial surgery and post-mastectomy breast reconstruction, in which the invited physicians specialise. The visit was the result of a reconnaissance trip to Morocco, which had taken place in July this year, and based on which the CHU Mohammed VI Hospital based in Marrakesh was chosen as the suitable partner for implementation of the Programme’s missions in the following year.
 

Senegal / Motol University Hospital - ENT (November 20th - November 30th, 2019)

Near the end of the year, two medical missions were implemented in the regional hospital in Thiés. A four-member ENT team from the Motol UH performed surgeries concurrently in three operating theatres under the direction of prof. Plzák (each operating theatre was concentrating on a different part of the ENT anatomy) and managed to operate on 56 patients during the eight-day mission.
 

Senegal / Bulovka Hospital - Gynaecology (December 1st - December 7th, 2019)

The mission of gynaecologists from the Bulovka Hospital followed after a mission of the ENT team. The team, headed by the chief physician prof. Zikán, newly focused primarily on onco-gynaecological female patients, which is a very common issue in Senegal. Cancer treatment itself is fairly problematic here because there are no suitable diagnostic methods, and radiotherapy is almost non-existent. It was not until autumn 2019 that chemotherapy started to be partially covered in Senegal and cancer treatment thus became more accessible, at least financially. The team operated 44 female patients and carried out 8 breast biopsies during the five-day mission.
 

Ethiopia, Morocco / Motol University Hospital - Training in Children’s Cardiac Surgery in the Czech Republic (December 2nd - December 13th, 2019)

In early December, we welcomed additional foreign trainees in Prague; this time they were physicians from Ethiopia. During the two weeks they spent at the Children’s Cardiac Centre (DKC) in the Motol UH, they learned about the operations performed by the center, and, most importantly, about the treatment of heart diseases in the youngest patients in the Czech Republic. During the weekend, they were also joined by a cardiac surgeon from Rabat, Morocco, for whom the educational stay was also meant as a source of inspiration for building a similar specialised department in Morocco. Both trips should facilitate future missions of the DKC team to these countries.
 

Ghana / Bulovka Hospital - Gynaecology (December 7th - December 14th, 2019)

Based on the spring reconnaissance mission, a pilot mission of the MEDEVAC Programme to the Tamale Teaching Hospital, which is a referral hospital for the poorer northern region of the country, took place in Ghana in December. The three-person team of gynaecologists from the Bulovka Hospital moved to this hospital from their previous mission in Senegal. At times, the team performed surgeries for 14 hours per day, and consequently completed an unbelievable 47 surgeries during just five days! These involved mostly tumours of various types, uterine prolapses as well as postpartum fistulas, which have been almost eradicated in developed countries thanks to high-quality obstetric care. Thanks to the mission of Czech physicians, high-quality medical care was provided to female patients who would have otherwise been unable to afford it or whose diagnosis required a surgery so complicated and extensive that local physicians would have been unable to perform it. Collaboration with the partner hospital in Tamale will continue next year.

  

Projects aimed at enhancing local health infrastructure

Burkina Faso - Providing Ophthalmological Interventions for Disadvantaged Persons in the Hauts-Bassins Region

In cooperation with the international organization Light for the World, a 5 million project was implemented to provide access to ophthalmological interventions for the socially disadvantaged in the Hauts-Bassins region.
The primary activity of the project is the provision of cataract surgeries, which is one of the most frequent health complications in the region. Other activities will include delivering medical equipment, consumables and the training of local medical staff (physicians and nurses) in diagnostics and ophthalmological care in the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sourô Sanou Hospital.
 

Mauritania - Providing Equipment for the Medical Centres in Bassikounou and Néma

In cooperation with the Lutheran World Federation, a project worth 5 million CZK was implemented with focus on supplying equipment to medical centres in Mauritania. The goal of the project is to deliver medical apparatuses and basic consumables and to implement electrification of the two medical centres in Bassikounou and Néma. Both centres provide medical care for approximately 145 thousand people (60 % of whom are women), including 57 thousand people in the Mbera refugee camp. Due to its location, the Mbera camp hosts predominantly refugees from Mali who fled from violence in the region. The project also includes training medical staff in using the new equipment in order to achieve an overall improvement of the standard of care in the region.

  


Department of Asylum and Migration Policy, October 13th, 2022

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