Ambulance drivers train, qualify as paramedics in eastern Ukraine

June 30, 2021

Thanks to support from the EU and UNDP, 30 ambulance drivers in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts have upgraded their skills and qualified in the newly introduced speciality ‘emergency medical technician.’

Photo: Dmytro Telushkyn / UNDP in Ukraine

Lysychansk, Luhansk Oblast, 30 June 2021 – Twenty ambulance drivers from Luhansk Oblast and ten from Donetsk Oblast have completed a pilot training course in the newly introduced specialty "emergency medical technician" (EMT) and are now qualified to provide first aid in emergency situations.

Dmytro Kiseliov, director of the Luhansk Regional Centre for Emergency Care and Disaster Medicine, said that drivers on call in emergencies often want to help doctors and paramedics, but are unable to do so because they do not have the required special knowledge and skills. 

"We hope the situation will change radically now that, in three months, we have trained the first group of drivers, who can now provide professional support to medical workers in emergency medical teams,” Kiseliov said. “In future, we expect to train all technical staff in first aid."

The three-month training course took place in two stages: The trainees studied first aid theory at the Lysychansk and Bakhmut medical professional colleges, and then underwent practical training at the Luhansk and Donetsk regional emergency care and disaster medicine centres.

The coordinator of the Local Governance and Decentralization Reform Component of the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, Olena Ruditch, stressed that support for health workers in eastern Ukraine is systematic and sustainable, and increasingly includes innovative approaches and world best practices.

"We always consider the principle of ‘nothing about us, without us’ which is based on full stakeholder engagement in the implementation of new initiatives and practices for communities,” Ruditch said. “We’re happy to work with our national partners to ensure the effectiveness of educational initiatives that create opportunities for the health professionals’ development."

Professional training in the EMT speciality has already been approved by the Licensing Commission of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, and registered in the online register of educational entities. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine has set a transition period of five years for training all emergency medical drivers as medical technicians (paramedics).

Natalia Vershinina, Director of Lysychansk Medical College, emphasized that the EMT speciality was a step towards setting new practical standards in quality emergency care in Ukraine. 

"We know that today that the residents of the Luhansk Oblast need a significantly improved quality of medical care,” Vershinina said. “The training of ambulance drivers in this new programme is one such step on the way to providing quality medical care in line with European standards."

The first training programme in the "Emergency medical technician" speciality was launched at the end of March 2021 in Donetsk Oblast.

The training was provided by UNDP under the UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, with financial support from the European Union.


The United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme (UN RPP) is being implemented by four United Nations agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Twelve international partners support the Programme: the European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and the governments of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Media enquiries

Maksym Kytsiuk, Communications Specialist, UN Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme,, +380 63 576 1839