«Jewish Observer»
JEWISH UKRAINE
6/25
March 2002
5762 Nisan

SOUND SOUL IN A SOUND BODY
ROMAN SOSHIDA, SABINA VIRON
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In late January the Uzhgorod "Khesed Shpira" hosted the seminar for the managers of medical programs of the kheseds from Western and Eastern Ukraine. The Kiev Institute of Social and Community Workers organized the seminar under the leadership of doctor Boris Zabarko.

While presenting their programs, the seminar participants discussed the questions of rendering medical aid to their patients from the Jewish charitable organizations in the Vinnitsa, Volyn, Zhytomir, Zakarpatye, Ivano-Frankovsk, Kiev, Lutsk, Lvov, Ternopol, Khmelnitsky, Cherkassy and Chernigov regions, listened to interesting lectures and reports on the actual topics.

The Jerusalem "Joint" coordinator of the medical programs in the CIS Vera Sverdlovsky tells about the seminar.

- An experienced doctor, having won the patient's trust, can exert a big influence on him, evoke his motivation for both physical and moral recovery. What is the role of a charitable fund doctor?

- The main aim of the medical program in charitable funds is to increase the life quality of clients through widening an access to medical services and medicines.

If today the medical aid is inaccessible or little accessible to a client due to some reasons, he can receive it with the help of doctors - the khesed's volunteers or through the contracts, which kheseds conclude with medical establishments. The example to this is the "Labriyut" program in Uzhgorod. The same situation is with providing medicines. Due to high prices on medicines and small pensions many medicines are inaccessible to the clients who need them. The khesed pays for these medicines in full of partially. Unfortunately, the khesed's possibilities are restricted, that's why they are only partially able to fill the gaps in the state medicine nowadays. If it were not for the kheseds the bigger part of our pensioners would not be able to afford buying these medicines.

The khesed has no own medical establishments; its statute does not envisage this. But sick people experience the necessity to communicate with somebody, to tell, about their health. They come to our doctor. The doctors in the khesed fill this gap - lack of communication and attention. That's why it is very good when the khesed has doctors - volunteers who can help examine patients and render assistance.

- What is, in your opinion, the role of medical prophylaxis, which knows not only the symptoms of a disease but also the reasons and ways to remove them?

- Much attention in the modern world is paid to the prophylactic direction, as it is much cheaper the prevent a disease than to cure it. That's why, talking into consideration the age of our clients, we are doing a lot not to let their health worsen. If it is not possible to cure a person in full, then we should try, at least, to prolong his life, to improve the life quality. This is done by the program "Labriyut" in Uzhgorod, by the programs of other kheseds. Concerning the prophylaxis proper, it mainly includes the educational activity. Many people mentioned in their speeches about delivering lectures at "Warm houses", "Family clubs", at the events organized by "Mazl Tov". This is one of the most popular forms of the prophylactic activity.

The "Khesed Besht" in Khmelnitsky has the club "Health" and a phytobar in the canteen. A relatively new form of the work is the "support group", when the patients with identical or similar diseases gather together. For instance, the program "With hope for the future" is active in that very Khmelnitsky.

The similar programs exist in the Kiev "Khesed Avot", in Chernigov, Chernovtsy and other cities. People share their experiences, find psychological and moral support in each other. This is a non-expensive and rather efficient form of the work that helps people go on living.

Such communication has a positive impact on the life quality of the group members. The "Mazl Tov" programs also widely use prophylactic methods of work - in particular, working with pregnant women and young mothers.

- How do you assess the future of the medical programs?

- The situation is constantly changing. But we try not to allow drastic change to occur, considering the psychology of the elderly who adjust to new conditions with great difficulties. That's why changes in the programs are of a sparing character. They mainly depend on the programs' personnel. These are enthusiastic and reasonable people who take care of clients, who are looking for new forms of their work, which would allow increasing the accessibility of different services. The program "Labriyut" is a sheer proof to this. This is a good idea that has been actualized at the Uzhgorod khesed. This is also a real aid to people, especially to those who reside in the province.

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