Fenway Health Stands With Ukraine

The senseless attack on Ukraine by Russian military forces continues to cause human suffering and loss of life. Seven hospitals have been destroyed and an additional 104 hospitals/health centers have been damaged since the war began.

Health care is a right and not a privilege, including during times of crisis. As World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and other humanitarian leaders said in a joint statement, “Humanitarian partners and health care workers must be able to safely maintain and strengthen essential health service delivery, including immunization against COVID-19 and polio, and the supply of life-saving medicines for civilians across Ukraine as well as to refugees crossing into neighbouring countries. Health services should be systematically available at border crossings, including rapid care and referral processes for children and pregnant women.”

In addition to the widespread suffering caused by this invasion, LGBTQIA+ people in Ukraine community face increased discrimination, isolation, and access to mainstream health care, and this is amplified during catastrophes. We stand with organizations such as OutRight Action International that are addressing the growing crisis for LGBTQIA+ Ukrainians. “At worst we are excluded from relief efforts and at best we are left behind in humanitarian responses because of systemic discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” said a statement from OutRight. “When crisis hits, sometimes the only relief LGBTIQ people have access to is assistance from the LGBTIQ community itself, and its allies.”

Ukraine has the second largest HIV epidemic in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region with over 250,000 Ukrainians living with HIV and over 150,000 people actively taking antiretroviral therapies (ARTs). The displacement of millions, along with the bombardment and dismantling of the healthcare infrastructure and blockades of humanitarian corridors by the Russian military, have greatly impaired the ability of Ukrainians living with HIV to continue to receive access to vital services and medication. According to UNAIDS, supplies of ARTs are limited to under a year in most regions, and much of the progress achieved in recent years to curb the spread of HIV in Ukraine may be lost.

According to census figures, there are nearly 40,000 Ukrainians in Massachusetts, roughly 10,000 of whom have arrived since the 1980s. Many members of our Fenway Health community are affected by these devastating events, including staff, patients, clients, and others we serve from Ukraine, Russia, and Eastern Europe, and those with family and friends in impacted countries. We provide care and services to people regardless of nationality, and want to reiterate that all are welcome, seen, and respected as part of our community. For all those affected by this unjust war; please know that we are here to support you during this difficult time. If you are a patient in need for support or services, go to fenwayhealth.org or call patient services at 617.267.0900 to schedule an appointment.

Fenway Health has adopted a procurement policy that helps ensure that our dollars go to vendors whose practices do not conflict with our core values. We will abide by U.S. government sanctions applicable to Russia, and are reviewing our policy to ensure we are not inadvertently doing anything that would violate those sanctions. This includes reviewing any possible financial ties to companies owned or backed by Russia.

We join with others in Boston and around the globe in calling for an end to this war and renewed political stability, peace, recognition of human rights, and access to health care in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. We recommend this list of books that help explain the current crisis in Ukraine. Click here for a list of local people and companies that are working to aid Ukraine. Below are some organizations that are committed to providing global humanitarian aid for those impacted by the war, and accepting financial and other contributions:

The circumstances unfolding in Ukraine are a tragedy and a threat to democracy, and the human toll cannot be ignored. Ukrainian President Zelensky has called on the world to stand with Ukraine’s people. Fenway Health, without hesitation, does just that.

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