MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH
Head of Department – intensive care unit for newborns at the Vinnytsia regional hospital, Vinnytsia
I have been working here for the past 18 years and so I have seen the improvements. Our situation was quite hard. 15 years ago we were way below the European rate of survival for preterm babies. Now we reach 70% in the Vinnytsia region out of about 200 preterm births each year. We work more efficiently and with better results. A newborn weighing less than 700 grams has now a 90% chance of surviving here in our department. Our working conditions have improved, too. Thanks to the training, we have learned to organise ourselves and build up new projects, apply for grants, look for new sponsors, etc. This Swiss-funded X-Ray generator helps us in our work, as well as incubators and mechanical ventilation systems. We are now able to ensure the newborn’s comfort and to assist the development of its heart, lungs, bronchi, muscles and so on.
Conditions have improved for mothers, too. They rest in modern rooms next door. They may recover as long as they need to and come to check on their babies anytime. We keep checking on children even after they are discharged, thanks to the 12-year follow-up system we have developed. We see that the youngest of them who have benefited from the changes show a reduced likelihood of diseases and malformations. This is very encouraging. What we do here is not about acquiring fancy equipment or about displaying performance statistics. We work to give these newborns a better chance of living a long and healthy life.
«We work to give these newborns a better chance of living a long and healthy life.»
Director of the milk collection point “Prushanka”,, Kozyatyn district, Vinnytsia region
I have been dealing with milk and cows for almost 30 years and I thought I knew everything about it. Yet I learned so much thanks to the training! It opened my eyes on issues such as germs and milk acidity. We did not care about these issues before. We used to sell milk right after milking the cows. I know now that it may be dangerous if it isn’t processed first. We have to sterilise milk, pasteurise it, refrigerate it, and more. You know, I have a family. I already have a granddaughter. I am proud to produce healthy, high-quality milk. It is very important for children’s growth. I see it through my granddaughter.
The training has also proved extremely helpful and timely in the development of my activity. Our treatment centre has become a quality reference for over 600 cow-owners in the region and our customers. We start treating milk at 4 a.m. every day. You see, you arrived at 11 a.m. and we already don’t have any milk left! Everyone appreciates our work because they trust our expertise in all stages of milk processing. It does not end there. The training gave me hints to look for more information. I am all the time looking for ways to perfect our working methods so as to offer an ever better quality of milk.
CONFLIcT - ACCeS to water
Head of the Upper Kalmius Water Filtration Plant at Voda Donbasa, Donetsk
Since 2014 the water filtration station has been hit 52 times. We’ve had to shut it down 12 times for repairs. But we’re still up and running. My employees have not received their salaries for the past 4 months. Yet hardly anyone has given up on the station; they keep working even during the shelling. We treat water for about 1 million people. I can tell you that the situation was not easy before the war but it has really worsened since. We can’t afford to pay our electricity bills and so we have more and more debts to repay. The Sivers'kyi Donets'-Donbas Channel crosses the frontline at several points. It is neither maintained nor cleaned up.
As a result, algaeand waste slow down the inflow of water and therefore it decreases our capacity. Half-filled water pipes get dirty more rapidly. Switzerland is the only state that has helped us here. We also receive support from NGOs. With no humanitarian supply of chemicals and cleaning products we risk diseases such as hepatitis, cholera, or dysentery. So far we’ve been managing to function. We keep testing our water every 2 hours. I am quite proud that no water-related disease was reported so far, not even cases of diarrhoea. Our water is still healthy for the local population.
IT engineer, Coordinator for “E-services” at the E-Governance for Accountability and Participation (EGAP) Programme, Kyiv
The online services we develop are a real revolution in the lives of Ukrainian citizens. They request administrative services practically every day: to register a birth or a death, or to apply for housing benefits, for example. At the moment, our pilot project on the allowance of heating subsidies is a great success. Before citizens had to drive to offices, pick up several forms, fill everything in, come back to the offices to present their documents… Now everything can be filled in online. Citizens have to travel only once to confirm and sign their applications, and that’s it. It’s simple and transparent and it reduces more and more any risk of corruption that may have existed previously.
The EGAP programme provides us developers with a framework, with capacities and with precious advice. It also shows us some cases of best practices across the world. Without the programme we could not obtain such tangible and positive results. The first beneficiary is the citizen who uses these e-services. One should also not forget the online platform for e-petitions that allows Ukrainians to actively participate in local decision-making. It’s proving quite useful too for state institutions which are trying to improve the quality of their services and governance. As for us professional developers, we feel proud to foster Ukraine’s digital transition and to improve the country’s e-services.
Head of the Maternity Department at the Vinnytsia Rayon Hospital, Vinnytsia
This is the only modern gynaecological department in the district. To put things into perspective, we deal with about 80,000 inhabitants and all consultations take place here. Patients may rest afterwards on one of the beds in the next room. Only the medical staff are allowed in here. We have done it all so that women don’t have to worry for even a second. We have worked on this approach over the years. Thanks to continuous training, we have understood the logic of Swiss methods and we have implemented them here. It is for sure a big improvement compared to the former system we had… Patients used to have to wait in the corridor.
Consultations were not really pleasant and women were reluctant to trust doctors. Thanks to our improvements, the psychological impact and care for women, namely for pregnant women, is fundamentally different. Now we can tackle any kind of issue here; from hygiene to contraception. All consultations are confidential. The staff are here to help rather than to lecture patients, as it used to be the case. Moreover we work in optimal conditions after we renovated our offices according to best Swiss standards. We still have some issues to resolve but who doesn’t? Step by step though, we are working on building trust with our patients.
Former economist, head of his residential building’s “Association of Apartment Building Co-owners” (OSBB), Darnytsa district, Kyiv
Our main challenge is to ensure comfort and peace of mind for our residents. It means that we have to make sure that apartments are properly heated and insulated, given the context of a sharp rise in energy bills, especially heating. We have focused most of our efforts on this. Our building dates back to 1955. A major renovation improved its thermal insulation back in 2006. Still, some of our boilers and pipes had not been upgraded since the 1970s! Our Co-owners’ Association consulted with residents and conducted an audit. We asked for estimates regarding two of our major projects. One project consisted of modernising the heating system starting from the boiler room in the basement. The other project was to improve roof insulation using modern materials. We presented the plans to the Kyiv municipality and it covered some of the expenses.
We took one of those “warm loans” at quite a good rate in order to pay for the Association’s share. Back in 2016 some of the residents were reluctant to take out a loan. Nevertheless our energy bills dropped by half thanks to our investments! This year we’ll renew our loan for the third time to support our next projects. This has almost become an automatic thing to do, as we still have much work ahead. See, we would like to insulate heating pipes so that we save even more energy and pay less. Our residents seem to be satisfied. Over the past few months some of our resident families gave birth to four new babies. We joke that our efforts to improve the building’s living conditions also stimulate families to get bigger!
«We joke that our efforts to improve the building’s living conditions also stimulate families to get bigger!»
Yurii KURYLKO and Ivan SHUMEIKO
Deputy director of the Health Protection Department and chief therapist at the Central Regional Hospital in Poltava
One colleague from another town recently asked me: “Say, both our hospitals work with roughly the same budget. Yet yours has better equipment and more medicine. How is it possible?” Our solution is quite obvious. Since we implemented new budget rules, our situation improved considerably. It is a lot of work, as each member of the hospital staff has to abide by many procedures. Each and every one of us has a role to play in enforcing proper budget control. There are also some consultants, experts and local NGOs who come and help us to monitor the use of funds.
It is all worth it. We have seen a clear difference. We may assume there were some margins for abuses and nepotism before. Money is now equally spread between different departments. Money better spent means that we found some extra resources to complete some reconstruction work. Our work relationships also improved as these procedures are clear and transparent. This way we understand each person’s actions. Eventually, our patients are the true beneficiaries.
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
Internally Displaced Person, Entrepreneur, head of company “Edelweiss”, Kramatorsk, Donetsk Region
I left everything I owned back in Horlivka. Yet my sister and I decided not to stay down. We heard about this assistance programme and we worked on a business plan. We obtained a grant that has boosted our company much more than we hoped. My sister and I have been in business for a few months. We employ four people in the workshop and one in the shop in the city centre. Plus we have a delivery service. We see now many new opportunities for us to develop further. Starting next year we may develop a new line of production – clothesdesigned for customers aged between 25 and 35 years old.
I feel Edelweiss can expand and control some 30% of Ukraine’s market with regard to medical outfits and overalls. Our company’s name, Edelweiss, shows our ambition. It takes a lot of effort to reach the mountain tops and find this lovely flower. The feeling of satisfaction once we make it is unique. We truly have a lot of ideas for the future. And to be honest, I don’t think about these horrible war experiences we went through. I don’t even see myself as an IDP anymore. I am home.
«I don’t even see myself as a displaced person anymore.
I am home.»
LOCAL PUBLIC SERVICES
Mayor of the Obiednana Terytorialna Hromada (Amalgamated Territorial Community) of Pyryatyn, region of Poltava
What motivates young people to stay in a town such as Pyryatyn? It’s all about the living conditions and the economic opportunities. Can you imagine that 10 years ago some 20% of the residents did not have running water at home? They were supplied by a water tanker. As for the waste, we used to pile it up in an open field and wait for the birds to eat it. This has changed. The Support to Decentralization in Ukraine (DESPRO) projects have helped us to develop genuine cooperation between local actors and active specialists in our Hromada. You will understand it is not easy to build a 17,000-strong community out of five different towns. Thanks to the projects, we have learned how to work together and to enhance our expertise. One of our last projects was to build the administrative service centre.
You know, it used to be normal for our citizens to come to one of these gloomy buildings and wait in a dark corridor for something to happen. Civil servants were often bullying and they kept asking for more paperwork to be filled in. Now it’s all open, clean, bright and the queuing is electronically regulated. People now no longer have to face someone from the authorities telling them what to do. Instead they interact with a specialist who helps them to sort things out. You know, I was a building engineer and now officially a pensioner. But it’s my second term as city head and I just can’t get enough. The transformation that has taken place here these past few years has been thrilling!
Doctor, General practitioner. Kalynivka district, Vinnytsia region
I am a young doctor. So before attending the training I had only a few months of practice. I worked with what I had been taught at university and I made the best of it. But the training really helped me to better identify issues related to non-communicable diseases. We worked a lot on identifying the symptoms regarding cancers, obesity, asthma, diabetes, stress, etc. The training taught us how to work on giving patient consultations, especially those with high-risk factors, how to prescribe prophylactics, as well as how to deal with patients suffering from chronic diseases. I was very interested in the emphasis put on the so-called “healthy lifestyle promotion”.
To convince apatient to quit a bad habit is already a step towards the cure. I also had many ideas to improve the division of labour, for example in delegating some responsibilities to nurses. This way I can save time and I know precisely what the patient’s needs are once they are brought to me. Knowledge is very helpful in our job and we should constantly look for ways to improve ourselves. It has a direct impact. The professionals who attended the training intuitively shared their experience with colleagues. Thanks to this sharing of experiences even the people who did not attend the training may improve their medical skills.