By Sofiia Tiapkina
The Invictus Games Team Ukraine competed in the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 earlier in September. These 25 active-duty soldiers and veterans injured in combat since the russian invasion in 2014 have shown the world the unconquerable and invincible Ukrainian spirit. Together with our partner Protez Hub, Nova Ukraine provided the necessary equipment to one team member, Bohdan Yarotsky. Bohdan’s story brings to light the current prosthetics industry in Ukraine.
As russia continues its brutal war, Ukraine’s prosthetics industry has skyrocketed. An estimated 20,000 to 50,000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians underwent at least one amputation, and the numbers keep growing. Our partner, Protez Hub, emerged as a lead prosthetics service focusing on pre-prosthetic rehabilitation, testing prosthetic sockets, and improved communication between healthcare professionals and patients. They have created a network of Ukrainian specialists working with their foreign colleagues, a massive information hub for professionals and patients alike, as well as hotline and consultations for amputees.
Yet, despite the impressive successes in the face of russian violence, Ukraine’s prosthetics industry experiences challenges along its path to improvement. Over the course of the war, our country became an unwilling testing ground for low-quality or experimental prosthetic devices and solutions. It is crucial for the international community to support trustworthy initiatives such as Protez Hub and thus prevent war victims from falling prey to fraud. Across the entire industry, there is a continued need for more funding. Nova Ukraine helps fund specialized prosthetics such as the ones Bohdan Yarotsky used when competing in the Invictus Games earlier this month.
As we look into the future, we expect new developments to transform the prosthetics industry in Ukraine into a professional, patient-oriented network. Although current facilities find it challenging to find new qualified specialists, the existing specialists are acquiring new skills and staying up to date with global trends in prosthetics research. With more aid from Nova Ukraine and other organizations, Ukrainian prosthetics centers will witness rapid equipment advances and improved communication strategies.
These Ukrainians are proving to the world that cruelty and injustice can never defeat the true spirit of freedom and dignity. Let us honor their sacrifices and support them on their path to recovery.
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