Thursday 07 July 2022

Zeilen Van Vrijheid sends its seventh ambulance convoy to Ukraine

Raising funds for the aid group at the Amsterdam Freedom Festival this week. Photo:

Dutch aid group Zeilen van Vrijheid sent its latest humanitarian convoy into Ukraine on Saturday, consisting of seven vehicles including a custom-made neonatal ambulance.

Pavlo Fednov, an advisor to Ukraine’s ministry of health, is co-driving the neonatal ambulance from Amsterdam to Odessa and says it will have a key role in helping save the lives of young Ukrainians.

The ambulance had been requested by the ministry and was funded by a private corporate donor. It was bought from Diac Medical, a dealer in second-hand ambulances from Harlingen.

‘In a neonatal ambulance, the equipment is more important than the vehicle. The construction is very sensitive as the medical devices need to be properly placed in the ambulance and fixed according to high standards of neonatal care,’ said Veronika Mutsei, Zeilen’s chairwoman, ahead of the convoy departure.

The equipment inside the ambulance includes a baby incubator with a specialised neonatal ventilator and a Lifepak 15 unit with a patient monitor and a defibrillator, items cost more than the vehicle itself. The vehicle will arrive filled with donated items for newborns and babies.

The aid group says more babies in Ukraine are being born prematurely in Ukraine due to their mothers’ war-induced stress and trauma. Odessa Regional Paediatric Hospital is struggling with an increased influx of newborns as it has become the centre of neonatal care in eastern Ukraine.

‘The unique location and length of the Odessa region make it impossible to evacuate newborns simultaneously from different hospitals in remote areas of the region,’ said Fednov. ‘Timely and comfortable transportation plays a crucial role.’


The ambulance will also allow doctors to go to smaller villages and bring children born outside the hospital under professional care. ‘It is very important that we help not only to save the lives of soldiers defending Ukraine, but also the lives of their children,’ Mutsei said.

Zeilen van Vrijheid is a non-profit humanitarian organisation founded by eastern European expats in the Netherlands after the Russian invasion.

Since its creation on March 1, the charity has sent 47 ambulances, one fire truck, and over 100 tons of humanitarian aid into the war-ravaged country.  It is funded by private donors and partnerships with non-profits and corporations.

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