A major new cardiac programme for Ukrainian children will be officially launched in the former Soviet state today by campaigner Adi Roche.
The Chernobyl Children's Project International (CCPI) founder will unveil the life-saving project with world renowned cardiac surgeon Dr Bill Novick.
It is to be rolled out in hospitals in four major cities - Kiev, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Odessa - throughout this year in a US$300,000 (€192,178) joint US, Ukraine, and Irish investment.
"Through these critical surgeries, Dr Novick and his teams will save the lives of thousands more children in Ukraine," Ms Roche said.
"I have witnessed at first-hand the miracle of these surgeries in the operating theatre and would like us to rededicate ourselves today to protecting life and remind ourselves that nothing in life is more precious than life itself."
CCPI will replicate the success of the cardiac programme in Belarus in Ukraine by providing diagnostics, surgery and training during each cardiac mission.
While in Ukraine, Dr Novick and the International Children's Heart Foundation will work side by side with Ukrainian colleagues providing continuous education, training and expertise.
"Today we have made history and launched a new cardiac programme into Ukraine where over 6,000 children are on a waiting list for surgery," Dr Novick said.
"50% of children are not operated on in Ukraine because of lack of facilities and training.
"Over the next five years, our cardiac teams will perform critically-needed child surgeries and will reduce this waiting list to zero."