Anna Garchakova introduced palliative care to the Republic of Belarus and was the founder of the first children’s hospice in all the countries of the former Soviet Union. Anna was born in Leningrad in 1956. She graduated from Leningrad Medical Nursing School in 1978 and then entered Leningrad State University where she obtained diplomas in biology, chemistry and medical psychology.
Anna also has a masters degree and for her dissertation researched effective ways of helping bereaved parents.
At this time, she was working as a clinical psychologist at the Belarusian Republic Oncology and Haematology Centre. Anna was increasingly aware that children receiving treatment for cancer could be better helped if their families were more involved.
In 1994, Anna trained in the USA with Children’s Hospice International. This experience led directly to her establishing the Belarusian Children’s Hospice in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, in the same year. Anna continues to be the director of this hospice. Her desire and much needed persistence to organise effective palliative care for terminally ill Belarusian children and children with life-limiting illnesses and their families led to the subsequent founding of 7 additional children’s hospices in the Republic of Belarus. In addition, Anna is head of palliative care education at the Belarusian Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education.
To improve the work of the hospice movement in Belarus, Anna has attended training seminars in America, Switzerland, the UK and Poland. Her current standing in this field is such that she is now regularly invited to lecture on palliative care in those countries, Russia and other Eastern European countries.
In 2000 the Belarusian Ministry of Health gave Anna an Honorary Diploma for the development of palliative service in the republic. In 2003 Anna was awarded the Cross of the Most Sacred Order of the Orthodox Hospitallers in recognition of her service to the development of care for dying children in Belarus. The same year, Children’s Hospice International honored Anna with the Earl A.Grolman Award for her work with the bereaved. The Union of Belarusian Women named Anna Woman of the Year in 2010 for her work for charity and helping others.
Anna is married to an accomplished musician and has a daughter, Zoya.