2012 Programs and Events
NGO Promotes Palliative Care in Gomel
On February 21, the Belarusian Children’s Hospice shared the outcomes of the U.S. Embassy Small Grants Program supported project aimed at the development of the hospice’s Gomel program. Regional health and social services officials, experts on palliative care, NGOs, volunteers, parents of ill children and media took part in the event.
In 2011 the Belarusian Children’s Hospice NGO based in Minsk district held a comprehensive education course for its Gomel multi-professional team to improve interdisciplinary competencies on palliative care principles, standards, models and services; assist in organizing information campaigns, raising funds, attracting volunteers and building partnership with parents. The local government supported the NGOs’ initiative and assigned a room for children’s palliative assistance in the Gomel Central Children’s Clinic #3 that was renovated by the local community members. Currently the Gomel hospice team provides palliative care to 25-30 families with incurable children a month. This includes regular doctors’ and nurses’ visits to their homes, phone consultations, and psychological individual and group counseling sessions. Owing to successful public awareness campaign the hospice team attracted and trained volunteers from the Gomel State University, who visit ill children, assist in organizing social events, spread information about the hospice and help with administrative work.
Ms. Natalia Savva, Deputy Director of the Belarusian Children’s Hospice on Medical Issues, suggested a concept of the palliative care development based on the recent Ministry of Health legislation and experience of the Gomel hospice team to the round table participants. They set out practical steps promoting complex palliative care in the region. These included an education program on the palliative care as a health care improving the patients’ quality of life for local pediatricians, medical workers and students of medical colleges; organization of the social respite care for families of terminally ill children; provision of timely psychological assistance to families; ongoing work with volunteers; and cooperation with labor and social work agencies. Concluding the event, Ms. Savva hoped that the positive experience of the Gomel palliative care team will be spread to all regions of Belarus.