Direct Relief provides help for Ukrainians in Poland: Thomas Tighe

Direct Relief is a humanitarian organisation based in the US. It helps people from all over the world providing them with necessary medical resources. Recently the organisation got involved in the Ukrainian refugee crisis in Poland where over 2.7 million Ukrainians have entered the country fleeing the Russian invasion.

Ukrainian refugees to receive funding for purchases of medicine

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TVP World’s guest was Thomas Tighe, the chairman of Direct Relief. According to him, the organisation has been helping Ukraine for the past seven years, providing some Ukrainian citizens with specific medical aid.

“We basically just increased what we were doing and it has become a very large, the largest effort that we have ever conducted in the past 50 days,” the chairman of Direct Relief said.

He added that the organisation provided over 250 tons of specific medication as well as over USD 150 million in medical aid and is currently working on a programme that would provide prescription medication free of charge for Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

Mr Tighe pointed out that it is much easier working in Europe because of the vast resources in the region including transportation, the communication systems as well as homes and airbnb’s where refugees can stay instead of refugee camps.

What is Direct Relief doing in Poland?

“Today we announced a USD 10 million commitment to assist Ukrainian residents in Poland. To have essentially a charitable pharmacy programme, together with the Pelion group, that will be issuing barcodes, that people who are covered by the Polish national health insurance can go to the pharmacy and have their co-payment required for medications that they need,” The chairman of Direct Relief said. The programme will work with the help of an application, where registered people can “get a free telehealth visit, that will be paid for, receive a prescription and then go to any pharmacy in Poland and not have to pay the co-payment,” Mr Tighe stated.

He added that it is a system that is very transparent, direct and closely controlled so that the people who paid money to Direct Relief can see where their money is being spent.

The application

The application is planned to “go live” in the near future. It is planned to help 80,000 - 100,000 people immediately. However, the money needed to help all the refugees currently in Poland is approximately USD 100 million. “We hope that we will be able to help everyone who registers in Poland and receives a registration number, which is over 800,000 people,” the President of Direct Relief said.

According to the Direct Relief website “Each participant will receive a credit of 500 Polish zloty (about 117 USD)—the estimated per-person subsidy required for six months of prescription and non-prescription medical expenses, based on more than ten years of data tracked by epruf. Participants will be eligible for a second top-up after four months.”

Mr Tighe also emphasised that “Poland is an extraordinary example of compassion, for what the Polish people have done, from individuals to communities, to the national government. It is an extraordinary act of generosity and compassion.” He also emphasised that the example of Poles helping Ukrainians will be in history books.