Volodymyr Golyk from Ukraine: “Delivering trauma rehab during war violence and forced migration”

At the #ISPRM2024 congress in Sydney, Volodymyr Golyk from the WHO Country Office in Ukraine delivered a powerful keynote Garry Pearce lecture on “Delivering Trauma Rehab During War, Violence, and Forced Migration.” In a follow-up interview with Emanuele Prestifilippo, Golyk shared insights into the challenges and transformations in Ukraine’s rehabilitation landscape amidst ongoing conflict.

Golyk began by explaining the shift from a Soviet-style rehabilitation system to modern approaches necessitated by the war. “Before 2020, we had the Soviet style of rehabilitation… After the war started, we had a lot of changes at the regulatory and policy level,” he noted. He emphasized the importance of utilizing local staff to deliver modern rehabilitation services, using the metaphor of “building the boat while sailing” to describe their approach.

Maintaining relationships with other departments during the war has been challenging but essential. “Trauma surgeons… are collaborating well with their counterparts around the world,” Golyk stated. This collaboration has improved the proficiency of surgeons and allowed them to focus more on operations, thanks to the support of modern rehabilitation teams.

Golyk highlighted the need for new skills to treat patients effectively. “You have to go to the Internet to find the guidelines, to open the research and start learning by doing,” he explained. This adaptive approach has been crucial in addressing the diverse rehabilitation needs arising from the conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the difficult circumstances, Golyk’s message was one of resilience and progress. The efforts to implement modern rehabilitation practices and the collaboration among medical professionals offer a hopeful outlook for the future of rehabilitation in Ukraine.