UNICEF generators help to power hospitals amid war in Ukraine
In Ukraine, mothers and children can continue to receive the medical care they need, thanks to generators provided by UNICEF
Baby Solomiya was born during an air raid at Ukraine’s Lviv Third Clinical Hospital. It was warm and light in the bomb shelter when her mother, father and ward staff finally greeted her, thanks to a generator provided by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“We went down to the bomb shelter, where everything had already been prepared for the birth,” says Valeria, her mother. “I had no panic or fear. The conditions were good and I felt safe. I had my husband and a few reliable doctors by my side. I did everything the staff said and quickly gave birth to my girl. I will definitely come back for my second child.”
UNICEF has provided generators to medical institutions across western Ukraine. The majority were set up prior to the attacks on Ukrainian energy facilities, helping to ensure uninterrupted medical care for children even during power outages.
Among healthcare facilities to have received generators is the Lviv Third Clinical Hospital’s maternity ward. Today, 33 women and 15 newborn children are patients here.
“The generator helps us. We can keep doing our duties, while the patients can receive medical care even in these challenging circumstances.”
The hospital shelter is located in the basement and has five exits. Its windows are blocked with sandbags and beds are placed along the walls. It is equipped with a delivery room and an operating room, and has a supply of water, food and necessary medicines.
“'Thanks to the UNICEF generator, even in case of a complete power outage, the hospital and the shelter can operate and provide a full range of obstetric services,” says Oleh.
Many medical devices require a constant power supply on the maternity ward, including ultrasound scanners, incubators for premature babies, anesthesia machines and heaters for newborns. The generator has automatic controls and regulates the voltage level in the hospital power grid. If the voltage drops, it automatically turns on.
“Modern equipment has batteries, but they cannot ensure the operation of medical equipment for a long time,” says Oleh. “The hospital needs a constant power source so we can provide medical care and patients feel safe even during the war.”
“We had a generator with less power, but it was only enough for the bomb shelter. Now, the generator supplies power to almost the entire building”
The provision of generators is just a part of UNICEF's winterization efforts, which also include the distribution of warm clothing, electric heaters and water heaters to support local communities amid the freezing temperatures.
Continued attacks on critical energy infrastructure in Ukraine have caused power, water and heating outages, affecting essential services like health care. The European Union and the Government of Italy are among UNICEF's donors that are supporting the provision of generators to hospitals so they can continue providing life-saving medical services.
To date, UNICEF has supported 1,005 healthcare facilities in Ukraine, including 312 maternity hospitals (perinatal centers) in 24 regions of Ukraine. The total amount of humanitarian aid procured has exceeded US$ 35.8 million. This includes nearly 30,000 first aid kits, more than 2,200 pieces of medical equipment (ventilators, anesthesia machines, sterilizers, defibrillators, ultrasound scanners, incubators, patient monitors, oxygen concentrators and electrocardiographs), 420 baby heaters and 78 generators. In total, UNICEF plans to provide 700 generators to healthcare facilities.