There are only a few days to go before the official end of winter and it seems a logical time to look back over the year and see what the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH) has done. Particularly in view of the fact that we have just (for the fourth year running) broadcast our Annual Report in the form of a press conference at the offices of the leading news journal, Arguments and Facts.
The report makes good reading no matter how you look at it.
In 2012 we had 212 children and families under our care, the largest number yet. Our medical team made more than 2,000 home visits, the hospice’s psychologists and therapists held 420 consultations with children and/or family members and we had 44 children in the hospice’s in-patient rooms at one time or another.
As for funding, this is also good news. In total, BCH raised €499k, of which €281k (56.3%) was from Belarusian donors. Belarusian funding was given for the following two purposes:
1) Daily running costs of BCH (€178k)
2) Construction of a new children’s palliative centre (€103k)
These donations came from various sources and it is interesting to look at them a bit more closely. The €178k raised in 2012 towards running costs was 22.8% higher compared with 2011. To date we have raised a total of more than €120k for the new building project.
The BCH charity telephone line has performed fantastically well during the year. 16,961 calls were made and each one generated a donation of €1.06 which meant that we received nearly €18k!
BCH has been working with the Belarusian Ministry of Health to set up a nationwide system of children’s palliative care co-ordinators. Each of the six regions in Belarus now has a co-ordinator who is responsible for studying the requirement for palliative care in his or her region, compiling a register of children needing palliative care and co-ordinating the work of national health organisations and NGOs involved in palliative care.
Thanks to lobbying and advice provided by the Belarusian Children’s Hospice, the Belarusian Ministry of Health has published Order No 93 ‘Improving Children’s Palliative Care’ which provides a legal definition of children’s palliative care in Belarus.
As you can see, BCH has results to be proud of. Unfortunately all our efforts are still only alleviating a small part of the problem. According to the medical profession, a conservative estimate of the number of children needing palliative care in Belarus today is 3,000. Only one in ten children needing palliative care in the country is actually receiving it.
Last year, 33 children cared for by BCH died. Our aim is to ensure the best quality of life achievable during a child’s short life by relieving their pain, providing a variety of medical, psychological and practical support to the child and their family and creating a strong, loving environment around them. It is depressing to think of how many children suffering from life limiting diseases still do not receive this kind of help. Many of them are doomed to spending the rest of their lives in hospital or to living with terrible pain. So despite BCH’s obvious successes, we feel driven to improve things even more by reaching out to more patients. This is possible only with your continuing support and your faith in what we are doing. Thank you so much for all your help in 2012! We hope very much that in 2013 we will do even better!