Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Russia invades Ukraine again: how can the health community respond?

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: (Published 02 March 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o548

Rapid Response:

Trainee doctors from Ukraine should be able to resume their training abroad

Dear Editor,

McKee and Murphy (2022) have described a potential response of the health community towards the invasion of Russia to Ukraine. Their article stresses that the health community should call for stronger global political and financial governance to address the consequences of the crisis and prevent similar events in the future. While this consideration is thoughtful and touches upon the bigger picture, we believe that the health community should also step up to support the education of trainee doctors and health professionals in Ukraine.

As of the 24th of February 2022, the assault on Ukraine’s hospitals by unrelenting air raids and indiscriminate bombardment has put Ukraine’s trainee doctors in grave danger and severely compromised their education. It has also led to the discontinuation of clinical research, which was the main source of support for their involvement in research and continuous medical education. This situation is expected to plague medical education in the country for a long time after the cessation of the hostilities, harming both physicians and patients in the country.

Currently, physicians who obtained their qualifications in Ukraine are not able to practise Medicine in other countries, unless they clear a number of qualification exams. The amount of time, expenses and diplomatic paperwork required for this purpose makes their participation in such an arduous process virtually impossible under the present circumstances. However, medical students and young doctors in Ukraine can greatly benefit from resuming their clinical and scientific training abroad. The knowledge and experience they will gain can play a crucial role in restoring and improving the provision of healthcare in Ukraine.

The health community can address this need in two manners, a formal and an informal one. Formally, health professionals should call upon governments and health bodies to facilitate clinical training for medical students and young physicians from Ukraine abroad under emergency - temporary license to practice. Informally, health professionals should volunteer time and resources in educational activities (webinars, workshops, internships etc) targeted towards colleagues in Ukraine whose education and training was interrupted.

Competing interests: No competing interests

07 March 2022
Christos Tsagkaris
Medical Doctor, Head of the Public Health and Policy Working Group of the European Student Think Tank
Aparajeya Shanker, Lolita Matiashova MD, PhDc
European Student Think Tank, Public Health and Policy Working Group, 1058 Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
European Student Think Tank, Public Health and Policy Working Group, 1058 Amsterdam, The Netherlands.