How Ukrainian IT specialists support medical staff during the COVID-19 epidemic

How Ukrainian IT specialists support medical staff during the COVID-19

Mature business responds to problems and risks as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is the rule of survival. The IT industry is no exception, for which the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic is probably the first serious test of strength in the last two decades. The response of the IT industry was rapid: from the very beginning of the introduction of quarantine in Ukraine, the vast majority of IT companies have switched to remote operation and continue to operate stably, without disruption and reduced quality of service to their customers. But the maturity of business is also manifested in the extent to which it is socially responsible and whether it is ready to support society in a critical situation.

From the first days of quarantine, member companies of the Association began to contact us. They offered their help and asked how to support medical staff and hospital patients in this situation. The number of requests was growing, it was necessary to quickly decide how to act systematically from now on. That's when the idea to create a project #AntiVirus came.

At the first glance the task was simple: to unite the efforts of companies in their desire to help, collect and analyze requests from hospitals, make appropriate purchases, transfer humanitarian aid to the destination and properly draw up all the necessary documents. But as it turned out, to do it, in a very short time we needed to become experts in all medical nuances, understand the technical characteristics and standards of personal protective equipment, purchase and supply of equipment, work with charitable foundations and much more. We successfully coped with this task.

Our plan was as follows:

  • To unite companies by categories: who helps, how, in what region;
  • Determine what help medical institutions need in the first place;
  • Examine all regulations and requirements of hospitals for protective equipment and medical equipment;
  • Study the market and find suppliers from whom we can buy the right products;
  • Select a charity fund to procure and transfer humanitarian aid to. The fact is that the Association operates exclusively within its Charter and does not have the functions of a charitable organization. That's why we needed a reliable charitable foundation with a proven reputation as a partner;
  • Coordinate and conduct procurement, ensure document flow;
  • Deliver and transfer humanitarian aid to the destination.

In the meantime, we take into account the wishes of companies regarding the type and method of assistance:

  • some companies asked for help in purchasing medical equipment that would serve hospitals both now and after the epidemic, such as artificial lung ventilation (ALV) devices;
  • several companies allocated budgets to fight the epidemic or purchased equipment, but the choice of the medical institution was left to the Association. This is because we knew which hospitals needed help in the first place and what exactly was needed;
  • there were also companies that immediately clearly indicated in which way they wanted to help certain hospitals, but decided to assist through the Association.

For example, GlobalLogic stated that they intend to direct their help to the emergency hospital. That's why we handed over a batch of protective suits and masks for doctors of the Center for Emergency Care and Disaster Medicine of the City of Kyiv. Miratech has been working with the Kyiv City Clinical Hospital №12 for a long time. Priorly they helped repair 3 ALV devices and therefore knew that the hospital needs personal protective equipment. Ubisoft has allocated money to fight the coronavirus but asked the Association to find out what is the best way to spend these funds and which clinics need them the most.

After analyzing the situation, we focused on the purchase of personal protective equipment - doctors need that in the first place because they are at the forefront of the fight against the epidemic. We immediately faced a big problem - there was nothing special to buy in Ukraine. Hundreds of calls to manufacturers, wholesale suppliers and even intermediaries, and we were convinced that at that time all medical equipment was sold out and there is no protective equipment of good quality left. Ukrainian warehouses were emptied, and factories were not ready to accept orders in large quantities. There was an option to organize delivery directly from China - the country has already actively opened the export of medical equipment and protective equipment for the world market.

We immediately started looking for partners to combine orders and arrange air deliveries. It was then that we met our colleagues from CEO Club Ukraine, who were in contact with direct suppliers in China and just planned to place a large order for protective suits and respirators. We decided to make joint purchases and deliveries of goods to Ukraine through the Charitable Foundation CEO Club Foundation. Thus, at the first stage of the #AntiVirus project, EPAM, GlobalLogic, ELEKS, Miratech and Ubisoft raised 1.4 million UAH. With this money, we bought 2,000 sets of protective suits with boot covers and 2,680 respirator masks, that were transferred to 12 hospitals in Kyiv and Kyiv region and 2 Kyiv maternity hospitals.

As part of the #AntiVirus initiative, we continue to purchase protective and medical equipment. In Kyiv, we work with the Kyiv Volunteer Headquarters, the Kyiv Regional Public Health Center, the Ukrainian Relief Fund (UFOND) and many other organizations. New inquiries from companies that are ready to help in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic are constantly coming to the Association, so we have already started the second stage of the project. For example, Intellias passed 2,520 tests to 8 hospitals in Kyiv and the region. 6 thousand pairs of medical gloves were transferred to 2 Kyiv hospitals by Dev.Pro. In the nearest future, thanks to Luxoft Ukraine, 380 special sets of personal protection, 90 pulse oximeters and other components for patients connected to ALV devices will be transferred to the hospitals of Kyiv, Dnipro and Odesa.

A powerful movement of IT companies to raise funds and provide assistance to doctors in the regions was organized on the basis of regional IT clusters in just a few weeks. All so that they can resist the epidemic and save lives. Many thanks go to our colleagues from Lviv IT-cluster, Kharkiv IT-cluster, Dnipro IT Community, Cherkasy, Ivano-Frankivsk, Odesa and all IT specialists who joined these initiatives. To date, the IT industry has raised almost 45 million UAH.

Probably one of the main lessons of the coronavirus epidemic is that each state is essentially left alone with a new global problem and can only rely on its available resources. As it turned out, at the beginning of the epidemic, and now as well, it was hard to “borrow” even simple surgical masks.

By uniting forces to help the state fight the spread of the epidemic, the IT industry has shown its maturity and level of self-organization. IT specialists have once again confirmed that they are not only representatives of the new economy and the new middle class, but above all, responsible citizens and patriots of Ukraine.

Stay healthy, take care of yourself and your loved ones and help those in need.