Blog # 6
April 17, 2018
Spring is advancing quickly here. Many trees and shrubs are dressed in white and we’re thankful that it is not snow. The blossoms are filling the air with their perfume.
We spent several days with Drs. Art & Marlyce Friesen visiting hospitals and other medical projects. Reforms are being planned, beginning with Level 1 or primary care. These began on April 1st and will continue for the next 2 years. These will be followed by reforms in levels 2 and 3. Sadly, some of the changes that need to happen are not coming soon enough. One hospital reported losing 7 doctors because the salaries are so low. Professionals are leaving for other European countries and taking jobs there that are unrelated to their training because they can make a better living. Unfortunately, young professionals are the people Ukraine needs to improve life here.
Dr. Irina served the people at the Mennonite Centre for many years, but she has now left for Italy. We are pleased that Dr. Petrovna, a pediatrician, will be filling her position. She has lived in Molochansk most of her life and is well known among the local people.
When we met with the chief doctor in the Shiroke Territorial Region there was a much more positive attitude towards the reforms. We sensed a good working relationship between her and her nursing staff. During our conversation they were all crowded into the doorway and participating in the discussion.
When we visited the rehab unit in the Zaporizhzhye Oblast Hospital, we met several recently trained physiotherapists, eager to learn the most recent treatment procedures. They were telling us of a training program being offered online followed by a practicum at a hospital in Lviv. The instructors were from North America. They were very interested, but the cost was prohibitive for them. Mennonite Centre will pay the tuition for one student, who will then be qualified to teach the others. Anya, a mother of a five-year old daughter, will receive this training.
Last night we had a wind-up barbecue with our staff. We are always sorry we can’t communicate directly, but we treasure their friendships and are pleased that they support each other. They appreciate that they are able to work at the Mennonite Centre and we value their services.
Our term in Ukraine is quickly coming to an end. We are always saddened to bid farewell to our friends here. Those connections have enriched our lives! We are repeatedly told how the Mennonite Centre, supported by Canadians, has enriched theirs.