Preparing for winter well ahead of time: WHO supports Ukrainian hospitals with crucial modular heating units

23 May 2024

WHO Ukraine News release

The third year of war in Ukraine is significantly impacting public health facilities and services. While day-to-day emergency health support remains crucial, it is equally important to further strengthen the health system to endure ongoing adversity. Even though it is currently spring in Ukraine, preparing now for the coming winter is essential to ensure that the country’s health systems remain operational amidst protracted full-scale war.

Thanks to a generous donation from the German government, the WHO Country Office in Ukraine, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, has started installing modular heating units in several hospitals prioritized by the Ministry. The goal is to enhance the resilience and efficiency of health-care facilities by installing modern heating systems. Such systems help ensure a range of uninterrupted health-care services during winter and potential power outages, providing a more stable and safer environment for patients.

As part of a larger initiative to install 8 units, 2 modular heating units have already been installed this week in hospitals in the Chernihiv Region. These units act as alternative heating systems for entire hospitals and could prove crucial for the over 54 000 people in the communities served by these 2 hospitals.

“Emergency conditions are a daily reality for many parts of Ukraine. This urgent initiative provides relief to local communities by ensuring their central hospitals are heated and functional during the third winter of war in Ukraine, despite continued attacks on public infrastructure. The availability of high-quality health services and medicines offers a sense of security and normalcy,” said Dr Emanuele Bruni, WHO Incident Manager in Ukraine.

The first such installation under the ongoing initiative was in Kharkiv Region, where public infrastructure is at high risk of continued attacks. Another modular heating unit is being installed in a hospital in Odesa Region, and 4 more are in the preparation stage.

Each installation requires significant infrastructure work to connect it with the entire hospital system. Hospitals can choose between firewood heating and pellet systems, depending on their preferences and available fuel types. Firewood heating units are cheaper and simpler but require manual fuel loading and large storage space. In contrast, pellet systems are fully automated, more powerful and require less storage space.

Germany, which has long been the biggest individual donor to WHO’s lifesaving work in Ukraine, is providing generous financial support for this particular project.

“Germany remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting Ukraine through this challenging period. By supporting the provision of modular heating units to hospitals, we aim to ensure that essential health-care services remain uninterrupted during the harsh winter months. This initiative not only addresses immediate needs but also strengthens the long-term resilience of Ukraine’s health system in the face of ongoing adversity,” said Martin Jäger, German Ambassador to Ukraine.–who-supports-ukrainian-hospitals-with-crucial-modular-heating-units