The BSPHO team ready to welcome the patients at the Queen Astrid Military Hospital (NOH).
Shortly after the start of the war in Ukraine, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital started organizing the transfer of Ukrainian children with cancer to Western Europe to ensure the best care for the patients and their families. This is done with the support of national organizations, and therefore, the BSPHO is the National Coordinator for Belgium.
Seven children with cancer arrived in Belgium on May 13. Three more patients are expected by the end of the month.
This has been a long-lasting effort that started back in March to organize everything with the health authorities. However, the result was a smooth and successful operation that the BSPHO can be proud of.
The BSPHO, leading this first evacuation, was primarily in contact with the partners in Ukraine and Poland (St. Jude's Unicorn Clinic) to determine which patients could be evacuated to Belgium and to distribute them among the national PHO centers (providing medical files to ensure each team could be prepared). In parallel, the BSPHO was in direct contact with the Belgian authorities (Ministries of Health, Immigration, and Defense) to organize the B-fast evacuation flight and the logistics on Belgian soil.
On May 13th, upon arrival in Melsbroeck, the patients and their families (mainly mothers and siblings) were transported by ambulances and buses to the Queen Astrid Military Hospital in Neder-Over-Heembeek (NOH).
At NOH, the army had set up a "triage" zone where BSPHO medical staff performed a thorough initial evaluation of each patient before their departure to their destination PHO center. There was also a "Registration" area where they could complete immigration paperwork, register with Fedasil for lodging, and receive a welcome pack from the patients' associations (including a phone and prepaid SIM card to be able to contact their families).
All patients arrived safely at their destinations and are receiving the best possible care.
Here is the official Press Release (in Dutch and French).
We hope we can repeat this type of evacuation as needed in the coming months.