Medical students and professionals from Ukraine learn about medical education in the Netherlands

Medical educators and doctors from Ukraine will this week receive tours and lectures at Maastricht University and Maastricht's academic teaching hospital MUMC+ on how healthcare and medical education is organised in the Netherlands.

The project, made possible from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, aims to help improve Ukrainian medical education. According to Wim Groot, healthcare economist and organiser, this is much needed. "In Ukraine, they really have a traditional, old-fashioned system with a lot of theory and little practice. Lecturers are there to tell things at lectures, students then have to pick up on that." 


The programme was started 4 years ago, before the war in Ukraine. Even then, the need for reform was felt in the country. When war broke out, however, that need became stronger and stronger. "If Ukraine wants to become a member of the European Union (EU) then one of the conditions is they adapt the education system to that of the other Member States within the EU," Groot explains. 

If the country does indeed become a Member State, there is further a risk that students will look across the border en masse for a good education, and that is obviously not desirable, Groot says. "You don't want a country like that to run out of students then."

Working with people

Project leader Tania Chernysh says that things are indeed very different at the university in Maastricht than in Ukraine. "Students here are much more involved in their profession, you see them in the hospital and in other medical institutions. Maastricht University and the hospital definitely work efficiently and employ a lot of dedicated staff."

'Humanity & Empathy in Healthcare' consultant Anastasia Leukhnia explains: "in Ukraine, doctors learn to work with 'the body', with malfunctioning organs, here they work with people. Everyone and everything – from the library to the hospital ward – is in tune with each other and that is quite a difference. Even now that it is war in our country, we are working to improve our system, so we are keen to learn from what we see here." 

Impact the project has certainly already had, Chernysh reveals. "It is a step in the right direction."