On 24 February 2022, the Russian government deployed its military into its neighboring country, Ukraine. In these dark hours, we are tormented by the thought of our Ukrainian friends, the fate of women, children and healthcare workers trapped in a senseless conflict.
We could have never imagined that our friends, Russians, Ukrainians and all those living within the Ukrainian border, who are building a brighter future for child health with us, would find themselves divided by a frontier of gunfire.
In 30 years of research to improve children’s health, we have built a relationship of friendship, trust and collaboration with Ukrainian and Russian doctors, scientists and HIV activists, who are part of Penta’s global family. We share a common vision of science and education as a means to achieve a better life for mothers and children. Together we have worked to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infections in children; together, through our training partnerships and research, we have learned how best to treat diseases such as HIV and TB.
War jeopardises the delivery of this treatment to children and families. Routine clinical healthcare is now being impacted, including newborn care, and the supply of oxygen, medicines, vaccinations and other essentials. As we know from COVID-19, these impacts can have even more severe consequences for mother and child health, both immediately and in the long term. Not only for the treatment of pre-existing health conditions, it will take a concerted effort to continue to provide medical care directly linked to the effects of the war, for those who remain in Ukraine, and for those who are dispersed across Europe.
We call on all our friends to support international organisations and donate to the humanitarian initiatives that are now working to protect the most vulnerable people.
We stand together with our friends and colleagues across Ukraine. We all stand firmly united against war and for peace.