Monday 22 July 2019

CorkHi12°| Lo

Cork Independent


Surgeons helping babies in Ukraine

Wednesday, 5th December, 2018 4:57pm

Cork based Chernobyl Children International is sending a team of surgeons into strife-torn Ukraine this weekend to save babies as young as one day old.

While the charity says that getting into Kharkiv will be okay, getting home will be problem as martial law was recently declared in the region.

The charity’s CEO Adi Roche told the Cork Independent: “We think we have a small window and the window is this weekend.”

She said there are risks involved in the mission as the atmosphere in Ukraine is still very volatile, but the team has assessed the situation and feel that it is extremely important to continue the work it has been doing in the cities of Kiev and Kharkiv for the past 14 years.

She added: “We can get the team of surgeons in but we cannot guarantee that we will get them home to their families at Christmas because nobody has a crystal ball to predict how it may escalate.

Since 2004, Irish charity Adi Roche’s Chernobyl Children International (CCI) has funded operations for over 4,000 children and babies in Ukraine. Known as the 'Grandchildren of Chernobyl' these vulnerable children have all been born with complex congenital heart defects which scientists and the 'flying doctors' team believe are inextricably linked to the Chernobyl explosion. Many of these innocent children have been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition known as ‘Chernobyl Heart’, which can only be rectified by the direct intervention of open-heart surgery.

Ms Roche continued: “The safety of our volunteer surgeons is of primary importance to us, however we cannot turn our backs on the children who so desperately need these operations.

“The reality is that one in every four children diagnosed with the heart defect known as Chernobyl Heart will die before they reach the age of six – so the programmes we organise and fund each year are really a race against time.

“Our flagship programme is based in Kharkiv, which is now under martial law and violence has increased dramatically over the past week. It is very worrying.”

Adi explained in that in recent days and weeks, tensions have heightened in Ukraine as a conflict with Russian forces has escalated.

She added: “Martial Law has been enforced in much of Ukraine, prompting an escalation of the four-year conflict which has had a devastating impact on many families who were still battling the fallout of Chernobyl. In 2014, increased violence and tensions forced CCI to twice-suspend life-saving surgeries for Chernobyl’s youngest victims.”

The volunteer surgeons donate their time, expertise and supplies which reduces the cost of each operation to €1,000. Since 1986, Chernobyl Children International have delivered €105 million worth of aid delivered to impoverished communities and children across the Chernobyl affected regions of Belarus and Ukraine. To donate visit

ePaper Service

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8
Desktop, Tablet & Smartphone friendly
Cookies on Cork Independent website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Cork Independent website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does Cork Independent use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We don't sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message