Harro Wiersma, founder of the Association for Help of Ukrainian Doctors (UKRMEDS), received a request for a new CT X-ray tube. Since the beginning of Russia's invasion, UKRMEDS has delivered bandages, tourniquets, scalpels, needles, catheters, splints, medications, and a variety of other medical supplies to Ukraine through its network of volunteer transporters.
Harro didn't let his unfamiliarity with X-ray tubes get in the way of solving the problem. With characteristic aplomb, he reached out to Christian Elfgang, Product Group Manager CT at Dunlee.
Christian immediately stepped up to help. He contacted his colleagues, and just seven days after initial contact, a brand-new Dunlee CT X-ray tube arrived in Mykolaiv.
The fast turnaround belies the complexity of supplying the tube. The necessary tube was one that Dunlee manufactures for an OEM customer. The Dunlee factory had a different tube on its production line, and had to redirect its manufacturing resources to build the tube. Factory personnel worked overtime over the Easter weekend to ensure the tube would be built as quickly as possible. Working an extra shift during the night enabled them to make the tube for Mykolaiv Hospital without creating a backlog in regular production.
Christian had no qualms about asking his colleagues to switch gears. "I know these teams. I knew upfront what was going to happen," he said. "We didn't have to have long discussions. The management team immediately said, 'Let's try to help.' The production team said, 'We are going to provide this tube.' And in 24 hours, it was ready to ship."
"We were surprised when we learned that Dunlee had reorganized the production process. It was so fast and so unexpected," Harro said. "Then when Christian told us that Dunlee was sponsoring the tube as a matter of social responsibility, we were flabbergasted. This was a big company that was so far away from us, and we didn't know each other personally.
"That we were being supported in such a way was amazing," he added. "It was a small moment of victory, that when we had such a specific need, we found help, and we didn't have to disappoint our contacts at the hospital."
Dunlee shipped the tube to Switzerland, where UKRMEDS is headquartered. Within five minutes of the tube arriving in Switzerland, it was on the truck to Lviv, UKRMEDS' point of entry into Ukraine. Mykolaiv is near the Black Sea in southern Ukraine, more than 800 km (497 miles) from Lviv, when vehicles are able to travel the shortest route. But the shortest route is never guaranteed. UKRMEDS has its own distribution network, and Harro and his colleagues closely monitor communication channels to learn which routes are safe to travel.
Once the tube arrived at the hospital, UKRMEDS experienced another example of what Harro calls "the world coming together to help others." The CT scanner manufacturer supplied a local service technician to install the tube, and Mykolaiv Hospital is now able to provide CT imaging again.
"Everything was very structured, friendly and fast," Harro notes. "We are very grateful for the help of Dunlee. With companies like Dunlee and its highly motivated team, we are able to help many people."
To learn more about UKRMeds or to donate to their efforts, visit https://ukrmeds.help/.