Post release #14

1 year of Family Medicine Clinic for Internally Displaced People  “InterFAMILY

“InterFamily” which became the fruit of international assistance to Ukraine, recently has celebrated its first anniversary. Is it a short or a long period for the country in war? 

One year period for “InterFAMILY” Clinic was rather meaningful and effective:

-The clinic currently employs 27 people with more than 1100 assigned patients and strives for its full financial independence. 

Participation in international forums

-The experience the clinic gained during the crisis period of  Russia’s aggression becomes rather valuable for some European countries facing the potential Russia invasion threat. During the last few months the Director of “Interfamily” Clinic Dr. Kolesnyk was invited to share his experience to several international conferences such as: the WONCA Europe congress in Belgium, DEGAM conference in Germany, EURACT conference in Slovenia, EGPRN conference in Czech Republic and the Crises conference in Estonia  where he presented the lessons learned by Ukrainian GPs during the war. 

International medical teaching projects in the everyday life of the “InterFamily” clinic

Step by step the “InterFAMILY” Clinic and the Faculty Department  of Family Medicine and Outpatient Care of Uzhgorod National University are becoming  a forge of personnel.

At the beginning of the war together with EURACT we started EUSIT project (EURACT Ukrainian Support  In medical Teaching) which has been later transformed into  EUSIT-EXCHANGE Project. Under the umbrella of EUSIT-exchange project several successful international teaching events have been fulfilled.. 

1) At  the WONCA conference this summer we met the young specialists from Portugal who presented an interesting workshop and we invited them to Ukraine. Three specialists from Portugal Carolina Quental Ruas Pinho (Family Health Unity Prelada); Ricardo Daniel Araujo Bertoluci Brito (Family Health Unity Espaço Saúde); João Miguel Mendes Sobral (Family Health Unity Baltar) arrived to Uzhgorod in October and conducted  a two days training in the Muscular  Skeleton Examination  and a rotation at the “InterFamily” Clinic, Faculty rehab center and hospital for wounded soldiers. As this training fit well into our Rehabilitation Program, the event was interesting  both ways: for the Portuguese young doctors it was a new  experience In a new country  which is at war. For us, it was quite a new approach to muscular skeleton examination which has never been taught at Ukrainian medical institutions before. Foreign and Ukrainian students, residents, and doctors of different ages took part in the hands-on training when everything was probed on everyone. 

2) Due to the fact that there are not so many specialists in physical rehabilitation which  is so much needed in Ukraine now, we have launched a new Rehabilitation Landing Project. The goal of the project is to provide basic skills training in physical rehabilitation for doctors, medical students, and volunteers.  During four weekends our experienced rehabilitologist  and a family doctor Dmitro Grigorenko on a volunteer basis was providing this training for the volunteers who would work at the hospitals helping the wounded soldiers. It was also quite a new experience for our Portuguese guests who were taking part in these activities too.

3) We continue training of our specialists in psychological and mental health management and  rehabilitation. Four family doctors from the “InterFamily” clinic have got  the training within the state MH Gap program (aimed to fill in the gaps in mental help knowledge of primary care practitioners) and now they are ready to train other family doctors of Transcarpathean  region. We have got the approval of the National Health Care Center to provide state financing for mental health management at our clinic.   

4) Within an EXCHANGE Project a group of 7 American specialists in emergency medicine conducted 5-days training in the form of a simulation problem – based learning (PBL) in emergency medicine in general practice. During this training a new method of teaching has been provided. We experimented in  dividing the trainees into mixed collaboration groups including English and Ukrainian- speaking doctors, and foreign and Ukrainian students of different ages and experience. Every day a new case to study and to find  a solution has been presented to the mixed group in an interactive way. The group’s clinical solution was presented to American specialists for their expert assessment. The latter using photo data together with the trainees had to come to the only final correct   judgment.   

5) Recently Uzhgorod National University organized the first Medical-Practical Forum for medical students of our region. Well-known doctors – teachers from UzhNU, medical and diagnostic centers were invited to it. More than 300 students attended the Forum.  The InterFAMILY clinic offered master classes on practical FD’s skills peer-training  where the students could see and learn skills in using modern medical equipment offered by the “InterFamily” clinic (video-otoscopy, densitometry, cardiovascular screening, express lab, non-contact eye tonometry, dermatoscopy, using the e-medical system, etc). Master-class section with 8 practical hands-on stations has been supervised by our young specialists who became experienced in  practical skills during their rotations at the “InterFamily”.  More than 100 junior students and  participants of the forum expressed their interest in the family medicine practical section, and 30 of them were assigned to the Clinic during the session. As a gift for the participants, we offered one day of free practical rotation to each of the students who had passed 3 stations of our practical session. We also presented the discount certificates for the students  to get the HPV vaccination,

International voyages of the “InterFamily” staff

Small group visits of our staff to different international conferences and seminars  are becoming a good tradition  and give positive results including grants and winning places. Each visit to the multiple international conferences and trainings brings new useful contacts, knowledge, collaborative projects, modern treatment technologies and  new equipment.

  1. Recently Dr Kolesnyk and his team of 3 young doctors and trainers  attended the  EURACT Conference in Bled  which brought new promising contacts. 

A group of British specialists invited by our friend Professor Harding has introduced the piloting project of E-glasses (electronic glasses for a distant online teaching in the family doctor’s office)  The  British company is interested in providing this type of study into the Ukrainian FM curriculum. Using these glasses users including the audience of the students , can connect safely with medical professionals anywhere in the world, in real-time. The goal is to educate and collaborate. The results may be of great interest and value not only for Ukrainian but also for  specialists in other countries. Neither of the countries in crisis had such experience yet. 

A new  free online teaching platform “Medical Schools in Difficulties” has been presented to our team by a participant from the UK Dr Abraham Thomas, a GP and a clinical supervisor. Being originated for Palestinian medical students, it can fit well  for Ukrainian situation too.

At the EURACT conference, Professor from Japan Manabu Yoshimura invited  Dr Kolesnyk to visit Japan in March 2024 to share his experience in FM management during the  crisis and to inspire young trainees to choose  this  profession.   

3. During the meeting at WONCA conference in Brussels Professor Sibyl Anthierens, an expert in qualitative research from Belgium suggested  conducting  a 5 days online training course  on qualitative research  which is quite well known in Europe but not in Ukraine. 15 specialists from our staff have registered for this event and the training is already in progress. 

4. Later this month Dr Kolesnyk with a group of young doctors from “InterFAMILY” is visiting Geneva to attend  a GPRN conference within a Memorandum signed recently. A national representative from Switzerland Arabelle Rieder is hosting and organizing a scientific and practical program for the team.

5. The EGPRN conference in Prague this autumn brought new success to the team of “InterFamily”: our young doctors won the 1st prize for the poster presentation, and  the research team has got  approval for the EGPRN grant for  the research on the topic of mental health of Ukrainian refugees comparing with IDPs ( internally displaced persons) victims of war in Ukraine.   The team of our researchers successfully presented a new project in the double- blind study about open- label placebo to be used in the moderate depression of migrants to be applied for the EGPRN bid as an international trial next spring.


Future plans in teaching

– In May 2024 “INTERFAMILY” plans to conduct a national EURACT Leonardo course  aid to train the Ukrainain FM teachers. 6 EURACT experts ,national representatives from 6 countries  are invited to Uzhgorod to conduct this course.

Point- of- care ultrasound training sessions are on the way: we have invited our Czech colleagues to carry a Point- of- care ultrasound training (POCUS). And it is quite natural that we’ll be interested in inviting the specialists in ergo therapy  from other countries to carry a Point of care rehabilitation training for  our staff, students and volunteers. 

We are proud of our success and happy to demonstrate that the activities of our donors, sponsors, and foreign friends were not in vain. We are grateful to our partners and volunteers for any past, present ,and future support. 

We will also be happy to welcome foreign experts for any activities together with the “InterFamily” Clinic.