Japan pediatrician launches website to help Ukrainian refugees

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Japan pediatrician launches website to help Ukrainian refugees

A Japanese pediatrician has launched a website in Ukrainian and three other languages to help caregivers and children fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine deal with the challenges they face in places of shelter, such as limited water or warmth.

The site, which is in Ukrainian, Polish, English and Japanese, compiles information on topics including children's mental health care, treating diarrhea, baby hygiene and preventing dehydration and infectious diseases.

Masahiko Sakamoto, a 44-year-old pediatrician from Saku Central Hospital Advanced Care Center in the central Japan prefecture of Nagano, said he could not view the situation in Ukraine as something that was just happening in a foreign land.

He saw a news report in late February about a large group of children from Ukraine were sheltering in Krakow, a Polish city he had once visited while studying in the country for four months as an international exchange student.

He came up with the idea of using the information from a Japanese pediatric care site to help these children. Sakamoto called on a Polish acquaintance to join his effort, and two Ukrainians had offered to help with translation within the day.

The website, which says We stand with Ukraine and its people, was created in four days with the help of experts on disaster medicine and mental health care in Japan.

The information on the website was originally compiled to help natural disaster victims in Japan.

The pediatrician said the Japan International Cooperation Agency, a government-backed aid agency, and other nonprofit organizations working in Ukraine's neighboring countries told him of their intention to use the website.

It has been introduced by the Ukrainian and Bulgarian embassies in Japan via Twitter.

Sakamoto wants Ukrainian refugees to know that there are people who care about you from the other side of the planet.