Students of our Faculty are helping the situation in Ukraine in various ways - they have announced a collection of material aid for Uzhhorod hospital, they organize accommodation for Ukrainian refugees, and even spend their free days with refugees at the border. One of the medical students who helped with the Ministry of Health's Intervention Team directly at the border at the end of last week is 22-year-old Kateryna Cholynets from Ukraine, who study General Medicine (4th year) at the Faculty of Medicine, UPJŠ.
"The information about what is happening in Ukraine reached me on Thursday morning when I was going to the hospital for surgery practice. Videos of friends studying medicine in Kyiv started popping up on Instagram - I couldn't believe my eyes when I watched the footage of explosions! I immediately called my mom, who lives 150 kilometers from Uzhhorod. Mum works as a head nurse at the internal ward at the hospital and decided to stay in Ukraine because she is needed most in the hospital now, but my younger sister, the cousins, and my aunt quickly packed up and went to stay with relatives in Prague. Within a short time I met hundreds of such people at the border rushing to safety..." says Kateryna Cholynets, for whom the current situation is extremely mentally challenging.
Three medical and one PhD. students went through all the border crossings with Ukraine, monitoring the situation to see if anyone needed medical or psychological help, helped charities distribute food and tea, and Kateryna, above all, interpreted last week.
"After spending two days at the border, I had to stay in the dormitory to recover from it all on Sunday. I needed to cry and pull myself together because I was completely mentally out of it. I was organizing various help for the Ukrainians, but I needed to be alone for a while," explains the student, who spent months facing death at Covid's OAIM in Krompachy, thinking that after this experience she would be able to handle everything in her life - and yet life surprised her in a way that made her feel helpless...
"I saw people dying and packed their bodies in black sacks - I thought I was strong, but this has completely disintegrated me. I feel tremendous fear and I can't even tell what I'm afraid of, whether it's for myself, my family, or my country. It's like a horror movie, but you can't turn it off and you have no idea how far it's all going to go..." she remarks, thanking the Slovaks for their big hearts and for helping their neighbors in a difficult situation.
The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, UPJŠ prof. Daniel Pella, M.D., PhD. is proud of our students - he appreciates their willingness to devote their free time and energy in addition to fulfilling their demanding study duties to help refugees in various ways and appreciates his colleagues who also show their human face. The Vice-Dean for educational activities prof. Želmíra Macejová, M.D., PhD., MPH met with Ukrainian students studying at our faculty (we have fifteen of them) and tried to identify their current state of mind and needs.