Significant developments achieved by the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH) during the last two years
At government level, BCH has been working with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.Together, we have developed the Respite Care Programme for Families. Advocacy for this programme was paid for with grants from the US Embassy in Minsk, the International Children’s Fund and UNICEF and BCH received support from Friends of the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (UK). As a result, the National Children’s Plan for 2012-2016 incorporated the right for terminally ill children to receive respite care. This plan has been approved at the highest level by the Council of Ministers.
At BCH, we are now working on implementing this decision. In close co-operation with the Belarusian Association for Assistance to Disabled Children and Young Adults we have launched pilot projects in Minsk, Gomel, Babichi and Ivenets.
In partnership with the Ministry of Health a Children’s Palliative Care Resource Centre based at BCH was established in December 2010. A Ministry of Health doctor and statistician are involved at this centre.
Since September 2011, the Ministry of Health’s leading specialist in children’s palliative care, Dr Natalia Savva, has been working as the director of medical services and head cancer specialist at the Belarusian Children’s Hospice. Dr Savva has drawn up the Instructions for Paediatric Palliative Care which, among other provisions, sets out the conditions in which it is acceptable and best to stop treatment of the disease and offer palliative care and guidelines on the resuscitation of children. Dr Savva has also written guidelines for palliative care units within hospitals and medical teaching institutions and for the care of children receiving artificial ventilation at home.
In May 2011, the President of Belarus granted some land to BCH so that we can build a much needed new hospice building. The construction will take place under the aegis of the Ministry of Health. When the new building has been completed, the Ministry has agreed to cover its utilities bills and 80% of staff salaries.
Belarusian Children’s Hospice, Minsk March 2012
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