Kharkiv medical students begin training at Cambridge hospitals

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Twenty Ukrainian medical students from Kharkiv, whose training has been interrupted by Russia’s large-scale invasion, begin clinical placements at hospitals around Cambridge next week to learn critical skills to help support health services health of their country.

The relevant statement was made by the University of Cambridge, reports a correspondent of Ukrinform.

Ukrainian students will continue their practical studies and receive essential teaching at Cambridge University’s Faculty of Clinical Medicine, as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Royal Papworth Hospital and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.

The placements were organized as part of a twinning partnership between the University of Cambridge and the National Medical University of Kharkiv, where the students are studying.

“The fully-funded seven-week program will enhance the training students have already received despite the conflict, help them progress in their further studies with Kharkiv National Medical University, and support Ukraine’s vital health service” , says the report.

The University of Cambridge coordinates the whole program and the clinical training will be provided by the hospitals involved.

“Colleagues have worked hard to get this program up and running in a short time. This is action oriented; it is about packing as much as possible into seven weeks, all that is essential to enable Kharkiv National Medical University to advance students who otherwise, due to circumstances, it simply could not Paul Wilkinson, clinical dean at the School of Clinical Medicine, said.

The students in the program, most of whom have been displaced by the conflict, are in their final two years of medical training. Because of the war, and before that the COVID-19 pandemic, most of their learning over the past two and a half years has taken place online and they have missed out on essential practical instruction. Following the internships, students will receive a learning portfolio to support their continuing medical education at Kharkiv National Medical University.

One of the students, Serhii Alkhimov, 21, spent four months living in an underground train station in Kharkiv with around a thousand others. He single-handedly cared for many sick people and was awarded a medal for his services by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“I had a background in military medicine, so it wasn’t as difficult for me as it could have been, but I didn’t get much sleep. Most of the people I treated suffered from chronic illnesses and could not get help anywhere else. I was happy to help and save two or three lives,” Alkhimov said.

Vira Lavryk, 22, fled Kharkiv after being attacked at the start of the conflict, returning to her hometown in southern Ukraine, later traveling to Portugal for hospitalization.

“Kharkiv was attacked on the first day of the invasion, morning, afternoon, evening – hour after hour. My mother told me to go home, which was safe for a while, but then my hometown was invaded and occupied by Russia. I was so scared and it left a mark on me that I will never forget,” Lavryk said, adding that his ambition was to major in medicine and become a surgeon, and come to Cambridge even for a short-term placement. term is a dream. for her.

Student Zaur Badalov, 22, helped treat injured soldiers and civilians in Ukraine after the invasion.

“I was in a hospital in Kharkiv on the day of the invasion; I was the first to notice the windows shaking and woke up the others. We were all in shock, then that morning injured people came to the hospital and needed help,” Badalov recalls.

After a few weeks, Badalov moved with his family to western Ukraine, where he was able to continue his education online while helping treat injured people arriving at local hospitals from the east.

“I learned a lot from helping cases and seeing how doctors treated people. Now I have a great opportunity to learn new methods of treatment at Cambridge – medicine in the UK is world class – and bring that knowledge and skills back to Ukraine and pass it on to others,” noted Badalov.

Daria Shliakhova, student mobility coordinator at Kharkiv National Medical University, said the situation in Ukraine is intense and the country needs more good doctors with good practical skills, “who can help our people and save their lives”.

“It is a priority to prepare and give our students everything we can, and clinical placements at Cambridge are therefore very important. […] Many of our hospitals and clinics have been damaged or destroyed by war, and our people are doing everything possible to provide medical services. Doing our job now is quite difficult, but we are doing our best to provide our students with a high quality educational process despite the enduring military actions. We would like to express our gratitude to Cambridge for supporting Kharkiv National Medical University and all Ukrainians,” Shliakhova said.

Professor Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, says this partnership between Kharkiv, Cambridge and the hospitals providing the training will provide vital practical teaching to students confined to online learning for more than two years – d first by the pandemic, then by the Russian invasion. In his words, this demonstrates the importance of international cooperation and it shows Cambridge’s unwavering commitment to helping the Ukrainian higher education sector in this time of crisis.

Paula Dowdy, Illumina Senior Vice President and General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said, “We are proud to support this practical response from the University of Cambridge which recognizes the importance continuity of education and the opportunity it offers to Ukrainians. medical students, but also for the long-awaited reconstruction of health services in Ukraine in the future.

The medical internships are part of “Cambridge University Help for Ukraine”, a developmental support program announced by the University earlier this year.

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