It has been another busy and successful year at the Belarusian Children’s Hospice. All of us here want to thank Friends of BCH and you for your continuing financial support, encouragement and advice. We would not be able to be so successful without your contribution.
There have, inevitably, been some staff changes at the hospice but our core staff of nurses, psychologists and social workers which you help to fund continue to provide excellent palliative care to sick children and support to their families. All our specialists who received training in the UK, facilitated by Friends of BCH, have shared the skills and knowledge they acquired there with our other hospice staff so even more people have benefitted. This year our team has helped 320 children around the whole of Belarus. An increasing number of children we care for have terminal cancer which adds emotional tension to our everyday work but we support each other and are able to cope. It is good to know that we have helped a sick child to be free of pain and given the whole family some happy times in the last few weeks they have together.
We have welcomed a new medical director to BCH, Dr Elena Vainilovich, who has smoothly taken over the role from Natalia who moved to Moscow due to her husband’s work. Our new head of fundraising is Elena Anisimova, replacing Maxim who set up this department 6 years ago. We are most grateful for his ground breaking achievements. Daryl Ann asked Jo Hopkins, Global Director of World Child Cancer, to run two seminars for our new fundraising team and her highly professional training on capital and major donor fundraising has and will be most beneficial.
Although the Belarusian government cannot support the hospice financially, this year has seen increased co-operation in areas such as transferring children to palliative care when a cure is not possible and developing the state’s children’s palliative care system in general. Palliative care has now been introduced into the curriculum for medical students. Four hours of lectures in a five year course is not much but it is a start. BCH, with the support of the Belarusian Ministry of Health, organised the recent 6th International Conference for Children’s Palliative Care in the countries of Easter and Central Europe which was a huge success and attracted over 200 delegates from all over the world.
The hospice is continuing to work on international projects - two with UNICEF and one with the EU.
Unfortunately, the number of children who need our help is growing constantly which means we need to do our best each day to find enough resources to provide our services to as many children as possible. Your contribution is vital to us.
I wish you and your family a happy and healthy 2014.
Anna Garchakov, Director of the Belarusian Children’s Hospice, Minsk