During the first three months of the war, Direct Relief was one of the largest providers of charitable medicines to Ukraine.
By Susan Fowler
n the three months since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces on February 24, 2022, Direct Relief has emerged as one of the largest charitable providers of medical aid to Ukraine, delivering more than 650 tons (1.3 million pounds) of medicines and supplies and providing over $14.7 million in direct financial assistance to other organizations in the region. The cash assistance has included direct payments for refugees to cover prescription medication costs, as well as operating funds for health facilities providing care in Ukraine.
As the war continues, Direct Relief is approaching the response along two parallel tracks – support for those experiencing the conflict in Ukraine, and for those fleeing Ukraine to neighboring countries.
The information included in this report by necessity includes unaudited figures because the organization’s formal audit coincides with its fiscal year, which is from July 1 to June 30. Audited figures for this period will be included when that audit and report are completed.
Numbers are as of May 24, 2022
Who donated to the response?
In response to the crisis, Direct Relief received 117,611 Ukraine-designated financial contributions from 91,822 donors totaling $79,624,504 from individuals, foundations, businesses, and organizations located in 79 countries (including Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and Belarus as well as all U.S. states and territories).
Note that the number of donors is vastly under-reported, as donations were aggregated by several sources and given in one lump sum (e.g. millions of individuals who play Fortnite contributed to these efforts through in-game purchases and subscriptions, and these were aggregated and donated to Direct Relief by Epic Games).
Of the total amount of Ukraine-designated contributions —
- $34,028,384 was contributed by 91,335 individuals,
- $40,720,976 was contributed by 239 businesses,
- $4,484,114 was contributed by 155 foundations, and
- $391,030 was contributed by 93 other organizations.
How were the funds used?
Of the total Ukraine-designated cash contributions received to date, Direct Relief has expended or committed $21.1 million to improve the health and lives of people affected by the war.
- $2.4 million on transportation (paid and pending)
- $14.7 million on financial assistance to organizations supporting Ukrainians and Ukrainian refugees
- $2.4 million on procurement of oxygen concentrators, emergency medic packs, and other supplies
- $1.6 million on emergency personnel costs and other organizational response management expenses
Consistent with Direct Relief’s Donation Policy, 100 percent of funds received for specific emergency events are devoted entirely to those events and none of the funds donated for Ukraine have been used for fundraising.
(As explained here, all Direct Relief’s fundraising expenses are paid by the Direct Relief Foundation, which uses earnings on previously received bequests to the organization for this purpose and other nonprogrammatic costs.)
MEDICAL MATERIAL ASSISTANCE
Direct Relief’s main objective in any large-scale disaster response is to safely and securely deliver emergency medical resources – that are requested, approved by the responsible government authority, and appropriate for the circumstances – where they are most needed, as fast and efficiently as possible.
Direct Relief’s support in response to the crisis in Ukraine can be divided into three categories: medical material assistance, direct financial assistance and information assistance.
In the immediate aftermath of the invasion, Direct Relief began to work with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health and its long-term local organizations to determine real-time needs across the country’s health system and to determine and coordinate logistics in order to meet as many needs as possible.
In direct response to the expressed needs of the MOH, Direct Relief’s initial emergency shipment consisted of 360 field medic backpacks for first responders dealing with injuries, infections, and other acute medical needs.
That donation was immediately followed by a shipment containing specifically requested Combat Application tourniquets, critical care medicines intended for ICU settings, IV fluids, antibiotics, and other urgently needed goods. Subsequent shipments also focused on chronic care and disease-specific medications and supplies that are often forgotten when people leave their homes in haste.
Direct Relief has since mobilized and delivered an ongoing series of emergency shipments to healthcare partners in Ukraine with more on the way. The medical product donations originated in locations in the U.S. and Europe as well as within Ukraine itself and are a result of working in partnership with leading pharmaceutical and medical supply manufacturers and distributors that stepped up in a historic manner to assist the besieged country.
This generosity, as well as in-kind donations from logistics and transportation companies, such as FedEx, enabled Direct Relief to avert what would have been significant costs (and expenditure of donor funds).
Over the past three months, Direct Relief’s close relationships with Ukrainian healthcare facilities and agencies, its strong partnership with corporate donors, and its ability to securely deliver large quantities of medical goods – including temperature-sensitive products that require the use of cold-chain supplies and technologies – have resulted in the organization becoming the main channel for the delivery of medical goods to benefit the people of Ukraine.
As of May 31, 2022, Direct Relief’s Ukraine crisis response efforts have resulted in the delivery of over 650 tons of emergency medical goods, with a wholesale value of more than $315 million.
This humanitarian assistance was furnished through 76 specific donations to recipient facilities and organizations in three countries for which Direct Relief arranged for and managed the logistics, transport, and physical delivery to where they were most needed throughout the affected regions.
Healthcare facilities and organizations in Ukraine that have received medical goods include:
- Ukrainian Ministry of Health
- Charity Fund Modern Village and Town
- Kharkiv City Council
- Odessa Ministry of Health/City Center
- Kyiv Renal and Nephrology Center
- Fondation Humanitaire International
- Chernivtsi City Charitable Fund
- Ukrainian Diabetes Federation
- Charity Fund “TAPS”
- Dobrobut Medical Network
- Razom for Ukraine
- Ukraine Association for Pediatric Endocrinologists
- Kyiv Charity Foundation
- Reach Out Worldwide
- Project Joint Guardian
Supporting Ukrainian Refugees
In the months since Russia invaded Ukraine, 6.4 million of the country’s 44 million residents have fled the country seeking safety and assistance. The rate and scale of this exodus are unprecedented in recent history and have created a refugee crisis in neighboring countries.
Direct Relief quickly established contact with the Ministries of Health of Moldova, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia, as well as nonprofits in these countries, in order to provide support for the health-related needs of refugee populations.
An initial eight-ton shipment of medical aid was delivered to Moldova’s capital city for distribution to healthcare facilities and shelters, and a shipment of emergency medical kits and family hygiene packs was delivered to the Polish Red Cross.
Healthcare facilities and organizations located in surrounding countries that have received emergency shipments of medical material resources to assist Ukrainian refugees include:
Moldova, Ministry of Health, Republic of Moldova
Poland, Polski Czerwony Krzyz (Polish Red Cross)
Medical products provided to healthcare facilities, organizations, and agencies included:
Antibiotics– 538,266 bottles and vials
Insulin – 61,148 vials and pens
Diabetes medications – 78,976 bottles
Hypothyroid agents – 347,234 bottles
Asthma inhalers – 61,493
Mental Health medications – 72,034 bottles
Oncology agents – 60,067 bottles and vials
Prenatal Vitamins – 16,200 bottles
Chemical Warfare antidote – 289,336 vials
COVID-19 tests – 99,000
COVID treatment –250,271 courses
Field Medic Backpacks – 682
Field Hospital Content Kits – 7
Wound care bandages and dressings – 3,749,094
Oxygen concentrators – 987
PPE items – 4,524,994 (masks, shields, goggles, gloves)
The number of Defined Daily Doses of medicine contained in the shipments totals** 101 million.**
DIRECT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Thanks to the outpouring of financial support from donors, Direct Relief is providing cash assistance to help facilities and organizations effectively respond to the huge surge of patients at a time when many healthcare facilities have been damaged.
Consistent with Direct Relief’s focus on supporting persons who are most vulnerable, financial assistance was directed to groups including the Ukrainian Diabetes Foundation and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
To date, Direct Relief has identified, vetted, and awarded emergency financial support totaling $14.6 million to the following facilities and organizations to help sustain and bolster the provision of health care in Ukraine and to support healthcare services for Ukrainian refugees in Poland and Moldova.
In addition to the provision of medical material and financial aid in response to the crisis, Direct Relief has been a critical supplier of information. Working with software company partners, academic institutions, and medical centers, Direct Relief has used crowdsourced data, geospatial analysis, and other data collection and analytics instruments to help understand key issues in the war.
Within Ukraine, Direct Relief has focused mainly on assisting with crowdsource data collection on the needs of internally displaced persons, including their origins and destinations, access to key services and goods including health care, food, water, shelter, and livelihoods, and their sentiment in terms of subjective concerns.
At the same time, Direct Relief has also collected data on the needs and goods availability of over 950 private pharmacies throughout Ukraine over the past 2.5 months, including many located in areas of significant conflict. The pharmacy data has been incorporated into the cross-validation of MOH needs lists. Important insights were shared with first responders, healthcare partners, and Ukrainian health officials, as well as with United Nations agencies and international assistance organizations to help them determine how to best prioritize and deploy their respective resources.
Supporting Ukrainian Refugees
Direct Relief’s principal role in providing information assistance for the refugee crisis in the European Union and Moldova comes through the analysis of human mobility data. Analysis of this data allows for an improved understanding of refugee movements at granular time and space scales for the sake of resource planning and allocation across several different sectors of activity. This analysis has been performed through Direct Relief’s CrisisReady partnership with Harvard University School of Public Health and shared broadly with a range of agencies who have requested specific types and locations of analysis.
Key analysis sharing partners include the World Bank, UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, the Health Cluster, Mercy Corps, and others. In partnership with Meta, Direct Relief is in the process of assembling an EU-based research network that is capable of supporting municipal level analyses, with the immediate focal point of that effort being support for a collaboration between UNHCR and the city government of Budapest which aims to understand changes in refugee clustering throughout the city for the sake of housing retrofits for long-term refugees.
Direct Relief’s ability to furnish a large portion of the extensive medical material support without the expenditure of donor funds was due to the in-kind donations from healthcare manufacturers and distributors, many of which Direct Relief works with on an ongoing basis.
Healthcare company donors responded expansively to requests for their participation. Included among them are 3M, Abbott, AbbVie, Accord Healthcare, Ajanta Pharma, Alvogen, Amgen, Apotex, AstraZeneca, Baxter International, Bayer, Becton Dickerson, Boehringer Ingelheim Cares, Covidien, Eli Lilly & Company, GSK, Hikma, ICU Medical, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, LifeScan, McKesson Medical-Surgical, Medtronic, Merck & Co., Merck KGaA, MSD, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Unilever, and Viatris.
In addition, the State of California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) donated seven Field Hospital Content Kits. Each kit contains the equipment needed to set up a 50-bed field hospital, and the hospitals have been deployed to high conflict areas.
Direct Relief will maintain its commitment to bolster and sustain existing healthcare organizations and systems in Ukraine as well as support the healthcare workers that run them, by ensuring the flow of medical materials, funding, and information.
Direct Relief was able to provide the assistance detailed in this report as a result of its existing strong relationships with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health and non-governmental organizations that were already receiving Direct Relief medical product shipments, ongoing work with clinical experts in the field to guide distribution and procurement decisions, existing partnerships and contracts in place to quickly request and receive high-quality medications from pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors, and strong track record of shipping large volumes of product, including those requiring cold chain packaging and storage, to difficult-to-access places to reach the most vulnerable patients.
Direct Relief will continue to provide assistance to the Ukrainian people, both those who remain in Ukraine as well as those who have fled the country and may be unable to return for years to come.