EVENTS

A fabulous evening of music and art raised over £1800. Thanks to Alexander, James and The Beacon. Details and pictures here.

NEWS

Who is the lucky winner in June's 100 Club draw? Find out here.

FUNDRAISERS

We are funding and helping to set up a ground-breaking physio programme. Read about Deb and Pam's first visit to BCH here.

Current News

How BCH is leading the way in palliative care

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You may have read recent articles in The Guardian or MailOnline about the distressing plight of disabled children in orphanages in Belarus.

The pattern of care provided for Belarusian children with chronic or terminal illnesses such as cerebral palsy is patchy. Belarus inherited the Soviet system of caring for severely disabled children in institutions often known as orphanages. Under this system, parents of chronically ill or disabled children are positively encouraged to give up their child into state care, often at birth. Sadly, these children with severe medical problems and disabilities are frequently labelled as having ‘no potential’ and receive little more than very basic care.

The quality of these institutions varies and depends on the director who seems able to allow or restrict access to visitors from outside. There are some very caring and well-meaning people working at the orphanages but, given drastic underfunding and understaffing, many of them can barely manage to complete essential care let alone give individual attention to their young charges with such complex needs. Belarusian Children's Hospice paediatrician Dr Pavel Burykin quotes the example of one of the orphanages he visited with 260 children and only 2 staff on night duty at any one time. Pavel is working on a project funded by a UK based NGO on how to expand paediatric palliative care and related services for children with severe disabilities and life-limiting conditions in Belarus. It also aims to protect and promote the rights of these children and their families

Therapy through play and interaction

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Friends of BCH is developing and funding another ground-breaking initiative at BCH.  Deb and Pam, UK physios who are Friends of BCH volunteers, visited Minsk to launch a paediatric physiotherapy pilot programme and to train BCH staff.  They will be visiting BCH again at least twice in the coming months to monitor the programme, set new targets and continue to train staff at BCH and parents of children receiving therapy.

Alisia Skomorovskaya, a member of the PR team at BCH, has written about the visit.

IMG 8221 compressedOlga Avila heads the Early Intervention Centre in Polyclinic No 19, one of 7 such centres in Minsk. For 15 years it has been helping young patients aged 0-3 years old, whose physical development is delayed due to neurological problems. The treatment approach is to work through the normal stages of a child’s development.

‘We educate other practitioners and hold seminars,’ says Olga, ‘but in all cases, the main input to a child’s development must take place at home. That is why we encourage the parents to take an active role in their child’s programme.’

We were allowed to watch as Olga and her colleague worked with an 18 month old boy. He walks with assistance and can already say a few simple words, successes largely due to his visits to the Centre. He has difficulty sitting and standing so this treatment aims to help him develop his co-ordination and strength in these positions. This is done through play as therapy must be fun for the child. He likes the feel of raw buckwheat trickling through his fingers and is happy to demonstrate how a bear growls or how he can bang a drum.

A Day in the Life of a BCH Nurse by our special reporter

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Valentina on bus cropped and compressedI spent a day with Valentina Maslova, an experienced nurse with 32 years’ hospital experience before coming to BCH almost five years ago. Valentina told me, ‘I decided to give working at the Belarusian Children’s Hospice (BCH) a try and now simply cannot imagine myself leaving’.

Each morning begins in the same way for all the nurses at BCH in Baravlyany, a district in Minsk: the team meeting to discuss their patients, those they visited yesterday and those on the list for today. The meeting brings together not just the nurses but also the doctors and the director of BCH, Anna Garchakova, who knows each patient by name. Through the door you can hear, ‘Has Masha’s cold improved?’ and ‘Take a book for Pasha, he likes them better than playing with cars’. The nurses always take a small gift with them. Some of the children they visit are active and physically able, they love reading and playing. One of the nurses’ aims is to make the children feel as normal as possible.

March 100 Club Winner

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The drawer was Olga Kobyakova, chairwoman of the BCH Advisory Council in Minsk.March 2017 compressed

The winning number is 12

The winner is Peter Harper. Congratulations!

Learn more about the 100 Club here.

February 100 Club winner

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February 2017 compressedThe drawer was Madeleine Perrett, ski chalet host in Les Arcs, France who will be going on to study medicine and hopes to become a surgeon

The winning number is 22

The winner is Stuart Jaggard. Congratulations!

Learn more about the 100 Club here.

Deborah Hunt - new trustee

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Deb HuntWe are delighted to welcome Deborah Hunt as a trustee.  Deborah will help to develop the new physiotherapy programme at BCH.

Deborah qualified as a Chartered Physiotherapist in 1972. Her working life was spent mainly in the NHS acute hospital sector in various locations in England but with several years overseas. Deborah’s clinical specialties were the treatment of musculo-skeletal disorders, trauma and the management of chronic pain. For the last sixteen years of her career, she worked at the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital, now Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, becoming Physiotherapy Services Manager for its four hospital sites.