Field visit in Zhitomir region to build further cooperation

December 10, 2015 Executive Director of Green Cross Ukraine, Coordinator of the International SOCMED Programme in Ukraine Yuriy Sapiga made working visit to Zhytomyr region.

GCU team visited the Zhytomyr Oblast Children's Hospital to discuss topical issues with partners for further cooperation within the framework of the SOCMED program and expansion of the activities. Chief Doctor of the ZHOCH Viktor Marchenko, as well as doctors of the hospital, among others coordinators of Green Cross medical projects, discussed gained results and achievements as well as difficulties that have arisen for the current year while conducting planned measures and overall activities. Vitaliy Zaremba, head of the pediatric surgery department, coordinator of the "Health for the Future" project and Lyudmila Kravchenko, a pediatric dentist, coordinator of the "Caries Prevention" project provided brief information on the work. Thus, during the reporting period in 2015 medical mobile team of doctors carried out all together 14 planned visits to the districts and 10 visits that required preparatory and organizational work. Usually mobile team consists of 7-8 doctors involved (surgeon, endocrinologist, dentist, general practitioner, immunologist, gastroenterologist, neurologist, ophthalmologist). They checked 2’615 children ("Health for the Future") and 477 children ("Caries Prevention"), 3’197 children were treated ("Caries Prevention") and 684 children respectively ("Health for the Future"), committed surgical interventions - 111.

Viktor Marchenko made ​​a proposal to consider possible options for development of medical module within the SOCMED program in order to continue the activities and to provide assistance not only the Chernobyl category of the population, but also for migrants from the east of Ukraine.  There are 1’416 children registered as migrants in the Zhytomyr region who have health problems and require effective medical and psychological care. Assistance provided to families in the area is very necessary, but we should support and take care of children and families who face certain difficulties at the moment. If possible, and thanks to support from Green Cross, we could provide the necessary assistance to the children and their families in need.

Yuriy Sapiga proposed to study the situation, to hold additional meetings and negotiations with the administration, to send formal requests to the Department of Family, Youth and Sports of Zhytomyr regional administration on the relevance and demand to provide qualified medical care and sanatorium rehabilitation of families and children who uprooted from the eastern part of Ukraine.

Viktor Marchenko said that he intends to further develop SOCMED projects in Zhytomyr region and to share expertise with colleagues from other areas where Green Cross conducts its activities within the framework of the International program SOCMED. “Our long lasting experience and partnership shall contribute to the development and provision of health care to the future generation”, said Viktor Marchenko. The Head Doctor of the ZHOCH thanked Yuriy Sapiga and the whole team of Green Cross Ukraine for their coordination and comprehensive support which is essential for the organization of teamwork aim at providing help families in Ukraine.

As a result of the negotiations it was decided to make a new project aimed at expanding and strengthening the work of the medical module under SOCMED program in the line with the existing projects in the Zhytomyr region, and possibly in other regions of Ukraine, where displaced families live. It is expected to reach more districts and increase the number of visits and checkups hold by the mobile medical team of doctors. Thus, the planned activities will enable timely detection of disease among children, to provide adequate medical care and, ultimately, enhance health. Another important project line will be the organization of therapy and treatment of children to maintain their health status, to boost their immune systems and mental state and get a number of non-medical procedures. Green Cross Ukraine has wide experience in organizing and conducting the therapeutic camps owing to the assistance of donors and sponsors from Switzerland, as well as coordination and financial support of Green Cross Switzerland. This activity provides an opportunity for many families to direct their children to long-awaited summer rehabilitation. The matter is very important for every Ukrainian family, and especially mothers. As no one else they realize their children need to travel to the health resort in order to get a chance become healthy and happy. At the end of the camp and based on follow-up survey data children improve overall health due to complex treatment, specific indicators of the functional state of organs and systems are normalized and significantly improved. Green Cross project related to eco summer therapy camps aims to achieve a positive impact on the psycho-emotional state of children and to strengthen their health.

In addition to the meeting in the ZHODH, during the field visit GCU team met with families who are involved in projects and felt themselves the positive effects of participation in Green Cross program. We asked how crucial this work is and found out opinions of parents and their children. "Of course, such aid is very necessary and important, - said Inna Suschevksaka mother of three children, and added: - Thanks to Green Cross this year two of my children have been in a therapy camp.  They were the only one from our village who received treatment and rehabilitation in the camp. My children strengthened and improved their health, and also gained new knowledge, experience, found new friends. I would really like to ask Green Cross to give a chance to improve health not just for my children but also for all children in our school, where I have been working for more than 10 years."

Also Yuriy Sapiga visited the village of Barashy located in the Emilchinskiy district that belongs to the third Chernobyl zone. There was a meeting with the principal of the local school, who talked about the situation and appealed for a help. Among pressing problems of the village and the community he emphasized the relevance of preventive medical examinations, rehabilitation of children in the summer, meals for children in the local secondary school, where 163 children are currently studying. Moreover it became clear that the school had no centralized water supply. Children and teachers are necessitated of consuming a limited amount of drinking water that is supplied by a fire truck each day brings. Given the shortage of water not only the staff, but also children themselves permanently have to save water, which sometimes brings some difficulties and discomfort.

As always GCU team had intense and informative trip. Constructive dialogue with the officials and public health authorities, families, allowed to realize that next year the activities of the International program SOCMED in Ukraine requires more consolidated work and it needs to address the problems faced by the Ukrainian families.

We are grateful to our partners from Switzerland, and, of course, we will try to involve Ukrainian sponsors to support our projects to achieve goals and objectives.

All the efforts and commitment of Green Cross team, as well as engagement of our partners shape a solidarity contribution to the national strategy on improvement the lives and prosperity for the Ukrainian people.

We are open for constructive dialogue and cooperation, but also count on any support from organizations and individuals to facilitate the implementation of our projects aimed at providing help to families and children in Ukraine.

Green Cross Ukraine

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