Saturday, March 4, 2017

Health Care

Blog 3 2017
March 4, 2017

Health Care
Funding health care seems to be a universal concern.  This is especially true in Ukraine where serious injuries due to the on-going war in the Donbas region amplify existing deficiencies.  However, we were encouraged by the efforts of staff in the Zaporizhzhia Regional Hospital, the largest hospital in  the Oblast.  A ward of the hospital was being developed that focused on spinal and head injuries.  Not only does such a ward require specialized
 equipment, it also necessitates major renovations to accommodate wheelchair access into patient rooms and washrooms along with improved treatment and physiotherapy facilities.  As seems to be typical of many public buildings here, floors between rooms are not always at the same level and typical narrow doorways will often have a 2-5 cm threshold.  Some modifications are underway.   In the meantime, of course, they continue treating patients in the best way they are able.

A second facility we visited in Zaporizhzhia together with Dr. Art Friesen was a clinic called Friendly to Youth.  This clinic is affiliated with the local Children’s hospital, which, as its title suggests, focuses on diagnostic and prevention efforts in areas such as sexually transmitted diseases and addictions among young people.  The HIV AIDS epidemic in Ukraine is one of the fastest growing in the world, the highest rate in all of Europe, and is the 3rd top cause of death in Ukraine.  Such statistics make for a daunting task for this clinic and its four satellite clinics in the southern part of the oblast.  The Mennonite Centre continues to provide some assistance, primarily in the form of diagnostic materials. 

In the more rural areas such as Tokmak and Molochansk, the need for current, functional equipment is critical.  According to the WHO 2015 statistics, the life expectancy for males in Ukraine is 66 years and for females it is 76 years compared to 80 and 84 years respectively in Canada.  We met with the chief doctors of the Tokmak, Molochansk hospitals and the Molochansk Psychiatric hospital.    We heard the frustration of these people trying to cope in a country with depleted budgets, still fraught with corruption at many levels and struggling with a costly war in its eastern provinces.   The medical staff face massive, expensive challenges in delivering adequate health care.

Despite this, people are being helped.  Viktor & Valentina invited us for a meal in their home  in order to express their thanks for the help Mennonite Centre provided for his hip replacement surgery.  He was still recovering from the surgery but was thankful that his pain was gone.

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