Pharmaceutical aid points for refugees

On March 3, 2022 in Katowice, less than a week after the Russian attack on Ukraine, pharmacist Rafał Hechmann, the founder of the (means pharmacists in Polish) initiative, together with a group of volunteer pharmacists opened the first pharmaceutical aid point for Ukrainian refugees in Katowice. At that time approximately 140 thousand refugees were entering Poland EVERY DAY.

The aim of the Katowice point was to support Ukrainian women and children fleeing the war by providing access to the Polish health service and basic OTC drugs, as well as through consultancy falling within the competence of pharmacists. In addition, the point was located in the reception center, which made it easily accessible to people who needed such assistance.

The initiative gained the support of the local Pharmaceutical Chamber and attracted dozens of pharmacists willing to get involved in help.

The initiative from Katowice gained publicity very quickly and pharmacists from all parts of Poland who wanted to organize similar points in their cities started to come to Hechmann. The concept of helping refugees through the creation of Pharmaceutical Aid Points, developed in Katowice, found recognition among pharmacists all over Poland. Similar points were created with the support of the initiative in Zielona Góra, Wrocław, Opole, Poznań, Kraków, Warsaw and Siemianowice Śląskie.

The involvement of pharmacists in this project is impressive. Over 200 pharmacists actively joined the campaign all over Poland. Pharmacists also created initiatives to financially support the activities of Pharmaceutical Aid Points, such as Pharmacists for Ukraine - which consists of a series of webinars combined with the collection of funds for the operation of institutions.

Each such point translates into help provided daily to several dozen families, either those suffering from minor ailments and cared for on the spot (in the first two weeks only in Katowice there were almost 900 such people) or people whose condition requires help in finding an appropriate treatment path in our country (which was also managed by pharmacists on duty at the points).

In the following months, points across Poland helped tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the horrors of war and relying only on humanitarian aid.