Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz left Israel for Ukraine on Sunday morning to visit the Kohav Meir Field Hospital, opened by Israel in the city of Mostyska in western Ukraine.
He is set to arrive in the city on Monday, where he will meet with Israel’s humanitarian delegation and will tour the field hospital. He will also meet with Ukrainian officials and is the first Israeli minister to visit Ukraine since Russia invaded at the end of February.
Ahead of boarding the plane, Horowitz gave a short statement, in which he said the field hospital was a source of great pride to the country, and that it is serving as the face of the Israeli health system.
“It is also an expression of solidarity with Ukraine, which was attacked because it chose democracy and freedom,” he added. “This struggle belongs to the entire democratic world, of which Israel is a part.”
The field hospital, which was opened on March 22, has treated more than 1,830 patients, 310 of whom were children. Of the overall number, 45 patients were admitted to the hospital for additional treatment, and 60 were treated by Sheba Beyond, which provided virtual assistance and treatment while operating from afar.
After two weeks of working around the clock to provide medical treatment to Ukrainian refugees, the original medical team will be relieved on Sunday by a new team arriving from Israel. Before they left Ukraine to return to Israel, they met with schoolchildren in Mostyska, who presented them with thank you cards and drawings depicting the work of the medical delegation.
“We are leaving here after two weeks, during which we brought so many good things to so many people,” said field hospital director Yoel Har-Even moments before departing. “It’s with mixed emotions we are leaving today, going back home knowing that we have been a small part of a big puzzle, treating only 1,800 people out of the millions that are currently under attack. But this is the small amount of support that Israel and Sheba Medical Center can send over to Ukraine.”
The new delegation set off from Israel on Saturday evening and consists of about 80 medical staff from different specialty areas and hospitals. Ahead of their departure, the delegation met with Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash, who briefed them on the situation and congratulated them on their work.