University of Cambridge to train Ukrainian medical students

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Serhii AlkhimovImage source, University of Cambridge
Image caption,
Serhii Alkhimov received a medal from President Volodymyr Zelensky for treating ill people sheltering in an an underground railway station

A Ukrainian medical student who saved lives while living in an underground railway station for four months is to resume his clinical training in the UK.

Serhii Alkhimov's studies in Kharkiv were thrown into turmoil when hospitals were damaged or destroyed by Russia.

While sheltering, he treated many ill people on his own and was awarded a medal by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

He is among 20 Kharkiv students who are beginning a seven-week placement with the University of Cambridge.

The twinning partnership with Kharkiv National Medical University will see the students continue their practical studies at the School of Clinical Medicine, and at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Royal Papworth Hospital and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.

There will be no cost to students, with travel and living expenses funded by a donation from a biotechnology company and accommodation funded by an anonymous donor, the university said.

Image source, University of Cambridge
Image caption,
The students are due to start their placements next week

Clinical Dean Paul Wilkinson said the programme was "about packing as much as possible into seven weeks".

"Ukrainian medical schools don't want to lose students and doctors who will be essential to rebuilding health services in the country after the conflict," he added.

Speaking of his experience living with 1,000 people in a railway station, 21-year-old Mr Alkhimov said: "I had military medical experience, so it wasn't as hard for me as it might have been, but I didn't get a lot of sleep.

"Most of the people I treated had chronic illnesses and couldn't get help anywhere else.

"I was glad to help, and save two or three lives."

Image source, University of Cambridge
Image caption,
Vira Lavryk, Kateryna Ausheva, Zaur Badalov and Serhii Alkhimov are keen to take what they learn back to Ukraine

Another student, Vira Lavryk, 22, said the chance to study at Cambridge was a "dream".

"Kharkiv was attacked on the first day of the invasion, in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening - hour after hour," she said.

"I was so scared and it left a mark on me that I will never forget."

Zaur Badalov, also 22, helped injured soldiers and civilians in Kharkiv and, after his family fled, those who had been transferred to the west of Ukraine for treatment.

"I learned a lot helping with the cases, and seeing how the doctors treated people.

"Now I have a big opportunity to learn new methods of treatment in Cambridge - medicine in the UK is world-class - and take this knowledge and these skills back to Ukraine and pass it on to others."

Daria Shliakhova, of Kharkiv National Medical University, said the institution was very grateful for the help from the University of Cambridge.

"Doing our job now is quite challenging, still we are doing our best to provide our students with a high-quality educational process," she added.

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