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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Sarah Haque

David Beckham hands Instagram account to Ukrainian doctor in Kharkiv

David Beckham has handed over control of his Instagram account to a Ukrainian doctor working in the city of Kharkiv.

Throughout Sunday, the former footballer’s Instagram Stories were inundated with videos and photographs following Iryna, a child anaesthesiologist and head of the regional perinatal centre, through a day at work in the midst of the conflict.

Iryna showed Beckham’s 71.5 million followers the cramped basement where all pregnant women and new mothers were evacuated to during the first day of the Russian invasion. She posted photographs of newborns in the intensive care unit, where they relied on oxygen generators donated by Unicef. In one clip, she filmed a young mother, Yana, holding her son, Mykhailo, who was born with breathing problems, and whose family home was destroyed.

Iryna said she now works “24/7” and that “We are probably risking our lives, but we don’t think about it at all. We love our work … Doctors and nurses here, we worry, we cry, but none of us will give up.”

Beckham, an ambassador for Unicef since 2005, urged his followers to donate to the charity, which is working in Ukraine to provide families with access to clean water and food, delivering ready-to-use kits to maternity hospitals and ensuring child protections services continue.

“Thanks to your donations, the oxygen generators they have received are helping newborns survive in appalling conditions,” he said.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, has been the constant target of Russian shelling for three weeks.

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