Hospital ‘train of hope’ to rescue more people from Ukraine

The newly fitted-out medical rescue train arrived in Warsaw from Ukraine Sunday with 600 refugees after its crew abandoned a training simulation when it saw the scale of need inside the war-torn country. Paweł Supernak/PAP

Poland will send a hospital train on further trips in the coming days to transport children and pregnant women from Ukraine, a deputy health minister has said.

Waldemar Kraska told a press conference in Warsaw on Wednesday that the main purpose of organising the hospital train was to help those wounded in Ukraine and bring them to Poland for medical assistance. But, on its first trip it also transported mothers with children from Ukraine, he said.

"We are also planning further departures of this train in the coming days. We will be focusing mainly on children and pregnant women," Kraska told reporters.

The train set off on Saturday with humanitarian aid, food, medicines and medical equipment as part of a practice run for evacuating Ukraine’s wounded.Paweł Supernak/PAP

He added that there are a lot of vulnerable people in the border area and the health ministry wants them to "travel to the border by special trains and be looked after by us."

Adam Niedzielski, Poland's health minister, told the press conference that the Polish healthcare system was ready to accept patients from Ukraine, both those wounded as a result of military actions and those who were ill.

The train has four carriages fitted out to carry and treat 160 wounded people, 80 of them in beds.Paweł Supernak/PAP

"We have prepared the entire hospital and healthcare system for the Ukrainian citizens who cross our border," he said and added that around 120 hospitals in Poland could provide treatment to Ukrainian citizens, offering a total of 7,000 beds.

Kraska also assured that first aid was provided at each reception point and that the ministry also planned to send vaccination buses there.

To read more about the 'train of hope' click here.