Caritas charity fund supplies pharmacy certificates to the East Ukraine. Psychological counseling program to start next month


Kyiv, February 11, 2016. According to the Chief of Statistics Department in Donetsk region, number of medical institutions decreased twofold since the beginning of combat activity in the east of Ukraine. There were 186 hospitals and polyclinics in the region in 2013, but this number reduced to only 75 institutions the following year. At the same time, number of personnel decreased threefold, informed the project spokesman Valentyn Pugachov at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center as a part of the UCMC Spokesperson of Peaceful Life pilot project.

There were 126 hospitals in Luhansk region before the beginning of anti-terrorist operation, but only 27 remained at the end of 2014. Number of medical personnel also decreased threefold. All the hospitals in the east of Ukraine are overcrowded and suffer from lack of medical supplies. Under such circumstances, volunteers, charity fund Caritas Ukraine in particular, come to the aid of state medical institutions, supplying them with medicine and helping  in post-hospital rehabilitation of people from eastern regions.

Roman Semenchenko, emergency doctor, told via Skype that the fund is implementing a program of providing socially disadvantaged groups with pharmacy certificates. “The most frequent diseases are cardiovascular pathologies, bronchial asthma, advanced stage of pancreatic diabetes and cancers. “Our role is providing patients whose case records and discharge cards had been monitored with pharmacy certificates by prior arrangement with a pharmacy chain […] to the sum of 4000 UAH,” said Semenchenko. According to him, the fund’s program covers Krasnohorivka, Mariinka, Hnutove, Pavlopil and Chermalyk. “For instance, 23 certificates were issued in Mariinka and 23 in Krasnohorivka,” elaborated the doctor.

Speaking of in-patient facilities in medical institutions, Semenchenko informed they are not available in Mariinka at present, and there is neurological unit in Krasnohorivka. According to the doctor, patients are given treatment in some wards heated by cast-iron stoves. “The main in-patient hospital is in Kurakhove only. There is no possibility of administering proper in-patient treatment,” said Semenchenko.

Rostyslav Spryniuk, priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, charitable foundation Caritas Ukraine said that the pilot project of supplying pharmacy certificates is implemented on account of the corresponding program by Caritas Austria. Another program will start in March, financed by Caritas Germany. Among all other things, it is planned to launch a medical program which includes psychological counseling. “There are many people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They will be rendered full medical assistance. The program is timed for two years for our medical workers to support these people together with doctors from Caritas,” informed the priest. He emphasized the importance of the charity medical program, for medical supplies delivery to the buffer zone is rather complicated and it is difficult to take sick people out of these territories.

At present Caritas Ukraine comprises 20 regional offices in 12 regions of Ukraine. Total number of employees and volunteers approximates 1000 people.