The EU has coordinated the medical evacuations of more than 2,300 Ukrainian patients to European hospitals since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Patients suffering from war injuries or serious medical conditions that cannot currently be treated inside Ukraine have been transferred to hospitals in 21 European countries, as part of a scheme launched in March 2022.
Ukraine's healthcare system has come under immense pressure since the start of Russia's invasion in late February 2022. With many staff treating the injured on the frontline, patients requiring specialised treatments often need to be transferred to other hospitals outside Ukraine.
The EU Civil Protection Mechanism finances the medical evacuations, which are coordinated from a hub based in the Polish city of Rzeszów, near the Ukrainian border.
The 'medevac' hub offers care and support for the patients arriving from Ukraine before they are flown out to receive treatment in a hospital in another European country. Two flights a week are operated, offered by Norway, transporting patients from Rzeszów to countries offering onward treatment.
The scheme was designed to also relieve pressures on health systems in countries bordering Ukraine, including Poland and Slovakia, as refugee inflows put hospitals under strain.
Over 370 of these patients have received support to return to Ukraine following their treatment.
In June this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched an 18-month project funded by the European Commission aimed at strengthening the Ukrainian Ministry of Health's medical evacuation and repatriation processes. The project will focus specifically on the safe return of patients who have finished their acute treatment abroad and who wish to return to Ukraine.