UNICEF delivers neonatal ambulances for 20 perinatal centres in Ukraine

23 August 2023
Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, First Lady Olena Zelenska and Minister of Health Viktor Liashko
Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, First Lady Olena Zelenska and Minister of Health Viktor Liashko

August 23, 2023, Kyiv — The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has procured and delivered 20 neonatal ambulances for newborns to Ukraine in response to the initiative by the Office of the First Lady of Ukraine and the Ministry of Health. These ambulances are supplied with newborn intensive care equipment that provides emergency care to mothers and babies on the road.

"Since the start of the war in Ukraine, a quarter of a million children were born. This means that their mothers witnessed air alerts, they were hiding in bomb shelters and felt stressed. Sometimes they struggled to get access to healthcare on time, sometimes they had to give birth in unacceptable conditions. The number of premature births increased by 10% last year alone, and this is a direct result of the war. Children that are supposed to arrive in this world in normal conditions, come to life under extreme circumstances," said the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.

From 24 February 2022 to 15 August 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO)  recorded more than 1,100 attacks on healthcare, including the damage/destruction of almost 50 maternal facilities in the country. This significantly strained the ability of the health system of Ukraine to provide appropriate life-saving care for premature and low-birth-weight neonates. 

"Newborns often need to be transported from their birthplace to specialized healthcare facilities away from the frontlines. Ukraine's healthcare system struggles to restore its capacity under the continuing attacks. The ambulances from UNICEF will help ensure safe and timely transportation of newborns, who need specific advanced therapy and life-saving treatment", said UNICEF Ukraine Representative Murat Sahin.

The ambulances provided by UNICEF will allow healthcare workers to perform resuscitation, help babies with jaundice, and transport premature babies to medical facilities where they will receive highly specialized care.


"What Russia has been doing for the entire 18 months of the full-scale war in Ukraine is categorically contrary to both the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, the norms and rules of which are followed by the entire civilized world, and basic human values. The healthcare system is under constant shelling. The whole world has witnessed damaged maternity and children's hospitals. I am grateful to First Lady Olena Zelenska for her initiative and to UNICEF for its support. The donated neonatal ambulances are equipped with the necessary specialized equipment to help our heroic doctors save our children," said Viktor Lyashko, Minister of Health of Ukraine.

The neonatal ambulances were purchased by UNICEF thanks to funds from the people of the Netherlands to support the implementation of the Early Childhood Development programme in Ukraine. The programme aims to realise the right of every Ukrainian child to a healthy start in life, reaching the needs of every child across the life cycle by interventions in health facilities and their homes through home-visiting interventions after discharge from maternities.

The equipment will be distributed to Vinnytska, Volynska, Dnipropetrovska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Kyivska, Lvivska, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Poltavska, Rivnenska, Sumska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Cherkaska and Chernivetska oblasts.

In 2022, UNICEF handed 15+ ambulances to children’s and maternity hospitals in Lviv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhya, Mykolayiv, and Chernivtsi. 

Media contacts

Oleksandra Burynska
Communications Specialist
UNICEF Ukraine


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org  

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