First Canadian H1N1 Medical Aid Shipment Leaves For Kyiv

TORONTO, Nov. 11 /CNW/ - The first two Canadian relief shipments of H1N1 medical supplies left Monday and Tuesday evening from Toronto's Pearson Airport bound for Kyiv, Ukraine. The shipments were organized by the Canada Ukraine Foundation (CUF) in conjunction with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) subsequent to an urgent appeal by the Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada, Ihor Ostash, just over a week ago.

The shipments consisted of some 9,000 pounds of urgently needed medical supplies that included masks, surgical gowns, disposable gloves, hand sanitizers, oxymeters and assorted other medical goods and equipment. Future shipments will include antibiotics, anti-virals and other medications that are currently in short supply in Ukraine.

Bohdan Onyschuk, President of CUF, expressed his particular gratitude to Health Partners International for donating a large part of these supplies, as well as to Air Canada and Cole Freight Inc. for providing transportation and freight forwarding services for these shipments at no cost. Ihor Ostash and the Ukrainian Embassy staff in Ottawa were also praised for their tireless efforts in fast-tracking the clearance of these shipments with Ukrainian Customs and Ministry of Health officials in Ukraine.

The initial shipment was accompanied by Ostap Hawaleshka, the former President of CUF, who will work with Ukraine's Ministry of Health to coordinate future shipments and ensure they are distributed in Ukraine to areas of most need.

The flu outbreak has reached pandemic proportions in recent days in Ukraine, with over one million Ukrainians affected and more than fifty thousand hospitalized. The latest statistics issued by Ukraine's Ministry of Health, and confirmed by World Health Organization (WHO) officials currently working in Ukraine, indicate that 189 people have died in the past week. Although it is difficult to say how many of these are due to the H1N1 flue strain due to a lack of adequate testing facilities, most experts suspect it to be the primary cause. The rapid spread of the flu has prompted the government to close all schools in Ukraine, cancel public events, and impose travel restrictions.

Fund raising efforts within Canada's Ukrainian community are continuing, with Bohdan Onyschuk indicating that the Canada Ukraine Foundation is hoping to raise $200,000 to $300,000 over the next week to fund future shipments.

SOURCE Ukrainian Canadian Congress

For further information: For further information: Canada Ukraine Foundation, Bohdan S. Onyschuk, Tel: (416) 369-4574, bonyschuk@cufoundation.ca; Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Darla Penner, Tel: (204) 942-4627, dpenner@ucc.ca

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