April 1, 1997
Maurice Frohn from the United Kingdom and I have been working with a very special center for children forty miles east of Chernobyl. Many of them are victims of radiation from the Chernobyl diaster that took place almost eleven years ago.
- Photos of the Centre
This center is one of its kind in Ukraine that rehabilitates children socially as well as medically. There are five or six medical rehabilitation centers in Ukraine, but this is the only one which is treating children to be
Dr. Vasiliy Pasechnik in his office
integrated fully into society. This concept is new to Soviet and post-Soviet Ukrainian poverty. One has to be on the scene to see the pathetic conditions that these people of great intelligence and determination have to face. We have travelled twice in 1996 to see conditions for ourselves. We are priviliged to find these brave doctors in Ukraine who are so devoted to their mission. All were in Chernihiv during the Chernobyl accident.
Since July 1996 we have shipped two twenty foot containers of medicine and food from the United States and have donated about $4200 in cash towards the operation of the center. More is needed to insure its viability. The Ukrainian government is not able to provide any more than the small fraction it contributes.
I asked Dr. Pasechnik, director, to write me a brief history of this special center which I've translated below...
Dear respected Mr. Victor,
I am sending you vital and necessary information about the Centre on four pages.
I am not sure that our Ukrainian postal service will send this reliably so I am sending this FAX. I am very thankful to you Victor, Dr. Maurice and Mrs. Lydia for your good heart in helping people and kindness for very seriously ill children and to our problems.
Dr. V. Pasechnik
Dr. N. Zenchenko
Dr. A. Yakubova
March 16, 1997
The Chernihiv Centre of Medical Social Rehabilitation of Disabled Children, "Revival," was founded as a result of a directive of the Ukrainian cabinet of ministers on January 27, 1992 by a committee commissioned to determine the physical impaired state of Ukraine.
The city of Chernihev also issued a directive on October 5, 1992 called directive number 35 in which the Centre is to also be accountable to the city.
The Centre was registered with the city of Chernihiv by as a result of a mayoral decision on September 27, 1993. The founders of the Centre were doctors Pasechnik, Zenchenko and Yakubova.
The government founded the Centre but the Center is not a government medical organization and has a collective form of ownership for medical, psychological, pedagogical and social help for handicapped children and also children with serious illnesses of the nervous system and orthopedic pathology that could lead to being handicapped.
The necessity for forming the Center was because the government was not able to provide the aid to do so. Almost all medical aid was oriented towards preventive help of children and the care of seriously handicapped children.
The number of children who are handicapped every year after the Chernobyl catastrophe is increasing.
In 1985 in Chernihiv we were able to count 275 children who were handicapped in 1985. In 1996 that number has increased to 851.
The functioning of the Centre is made possible with contacts in the government, medical, humanitarian and other institutions and organizations in Ukraine and other countries. In the Centre the work is done by expert specialists who have the highest qualifications. The head of the Centre is a pediatric doctor with the highest qualifications. He is a candidate of medical sciences and has earned the standing of "distinguished doctor of Ukraine." His name is Dr. Vasyliy Pasechnik.
In the center we have the following kinds of doctors who aid the children: pediatric, neurologist, psychiatrist, orthopedic therapists, two medical psychologists and pedagogues in computers sciences, workers to help develop the intellect, speech deficiency, nine nurses (massagists, physiotheropas, medical physicial culture, nurses who gives shots and a head nurse)
Other workers are a bookkeeper, sanitary workers, housekeeper, chauffer and cafeteria workers. All together there are 31 workers
Center works works closely in friendship with children's medical, preventative institutions of the city of Chernihiv. All children are looked after in children's polyclinics and hospitals and if the child is needy of special help, they are turned over to the Centre.
Reconstruction and repair of the facility was done by the city of Chernihiv and humanaitarian organizations in the United Kingdom, Holland and Belgium. All equipment was acquired from the United Kingdom.
After the opening of the Centre the mayor of the city of Chernihiv pays the utilities and heat. The only source of financing is charging tuition.
Tuition is for 28 days and costs 330 hryvna ($183) but because we are also involved with feeding of the children, the cost of caring for each child is 395 hryvna ($220). This figure includes the value of wages and overtime. Wage constitute 52% of that amount. Medicine, food, housekeeping, expenses and vacation take up the rest.
We have no income. If in the value of the tuition charge we were to include at least one hryvna of income we have to pay the government a 30% tax. That's why our Centre functions as a non-income organization.
We pay our workers the same rate as other government institutions. For example, a doctor neurologist of high qualification receives 180 ($100) hryvna per month. The Center is calculated 35 children so that for one month we need to calculate an income of $7,700.
Twenty per cent of the tuition is paid by the government because this is required for childern who are certified as victims of Chernobyl. For paying the other tuitions I am looking for sponsors because in the present difficult economic situtaion it is rare that any parents can pay for their children. The center continues to function. For half a year of work 230 children have been treated. The effectiveness is high and the doctors, children and parents are happy with the results.
Sign on the Centre
Ther Centre was formed with thanks to English and Ukrainian humanitarian workers. I hope that in the US we will find people who, even if it's sporadic, to finance the treatment most unfortunate invalids who have become the victims of the Chernobyl disaster.
March 16, 1997
Dr. Vasyliy Pasechnik