It’s been a long while since I wrote anything in my blog because I have been so busy but I wanted to tell you a bit about what is happening at The Hospice now and how BCH is influencing the provision of palliative care services way beyond the city of Minsk.
The government has promised to give a piece of land to BCH on which we can build a new, purpose-built hospice. The first piece that was looked at turned out to be unsuitable for a children’s hospice because there was a factory next door. The second location to be considered has a high pressure gas pipeline running beneath it. Now a third piece of land is being studied by the engineers and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that it will pass muster.
We have managed to maintain, if not increase a little, the amount of money we have raised this year but inflation still continues to rise rapidly so our spending power is reduced. Everyone is having to tighten their belts at the moment but we have our fingers crossed for better days ahead and continue to look for economies.
Is there anything cheerful on the horizon? Well, yes, there is. It seems likely that in January 2013 there will be a new Social Services Law enacted which opens up the possibility of state financing for different types of organisations that provide social services. As you are probably aware, so far the Hospice has not received and does not receive any financial support from the state because, like all non-governmental organisations, the present law does not allow it. The new law is still going through various procedures on its way to the statute books but, all being well, it should be signed sometime in the autumn of 2012. Another occasion for keeping our fingers crossed!
At the moment, most of my time at work in the Belarusian Children’s Hospice is eaten up with preparations for our 5th international conference, Children’s Palliative Care in Eastern Europe, which will take place from 27th to 29th October in Minsk. More than 130 delegates from 15 different countries – Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, UK, USA, South Africa and Nigeria will attend. It’s my job to liaise with all the delegates, organise their trips, accommodation, meals, put together the conference papers, provide simultaneous interpreters, compile handouts, find sponsors, arrange excursions and so on and so forth. This is a very big event for us and puts BCH firmly in the limelight of the international children’s palliative care movement.
The really good news that we received recently was that the Hospice has been awarded a UNICEF grant of 150,000 Euros! A large part of this grant must be used to spread and develop palliative care services in Belarus as a whole and we will set up palliative centres in Brest, Grodno and other cities. We are delighted that this means that we can use our expertise so that more sick children and their families can be helped throughout the country and near to where they live.
Time for me to sign off now. I would just like to ask you to please continue supporting our work and also keeping your fingers crossed for us. Without your help and support I do not know how we would manage.