Stork on the Roof

Who safeguards the country’s demographic security?
In the corridors of Grodno regional maternity hospital one can see boxes “for comments and suggestions” on the walls. The boxes hang at some distance off the nursing unit to deliver the patients who throw their notes into the box from embarrassing looks.

“When I became head doctor of the hospital two years ago, I had a strategic plan suggested by the experienced of my work as a head obstetrician-gynaecologist of the healthcare department of Grodno regional executive council. The plan was, first of all, to explain to every employee the normative acts regarding his/her duties and also to establish discipline, set a clear allocation of duties among the deputies and improve the facilities. But the “women’s advice” from those boxes reminded me that the patients need, first of all, a caring humane attitude”, said head doctor Victor Liskovich.

Instead of laughing at the “naпve” wishes of women, they make them come true. For example, in the short run a 2-work-station hairdresser’s will appear in the maternity hospital to make the young mothers feel at ease before the video camera lens which has become part and parcel of going home. The idea was taken from the box.

What a woman cannot write, she can say, — decided the administration of the maternity hospital and started organizing regular meetings of the patients with the administration. The result of such “surveys” was the introduction of video lectures and maintenance of the sanitary rooms. And the photos of the little plump sweeties — alumni of the hospital — in the corridors was the initiative of the medical staff themselves.

Grogno administration renders various assistance to the hospital in its revirescence. For the last two years with the funds of the regional budget (over BYR 1.5mln) the hospital purchased state-of-the-art equipment: an expert-class ultrasonic scanning machine with a colour 3D picture and an add-on and the equipment for intensive care. The emphasis is put on purchasing of laboratory diagnostic equipment in order to reduce to the minimum the probability of young mothers’ and children’s possible complications. Now the executive council is repairing the 4-storeyed building of the maternity hospital where the regional office of the organization “Marriage and Family” and the medical genetic counselling section will be located.

A local document exchange network is being set-up at the maternity hospital. There is also an idea to establish a video surveillance system to monitor the staff’s work in the receiving-room, operating rooms the labour ward: the discipline and control are above all!

Katerina Charovskaya

Expert opinion

Olga Peresada, head obstetrician-gynaecologist of the Ministry of Health:

— For the last years we have attained the results we can be proud of. First of all, they have to do with the maternal and infant mortality rates — the most important social indexes of our work. Thus, while in 2003 maternal mortality rate in Belarus stood at 23.6 for 100,000 of the newborn, in 2004 the rate decreased to 17.9, and for the 9 months of the current year it reached 14.8. This is practically the lowest rate in the CIS. Infant mortality rate has also decreased within this year — from 7.0 to 6.6 for 1,000 of the quick-born infants. It is a positive phenomenon that nowadays women more and more often choose in favour of the child: the rate is 0.8 abortions for 1 childbirth, and in Grodno region the rate is still lower. There is a more responsible attitude to family planning. For instance, 40 per cent of Belarusian women use contraceptives, though I have to admit that there is still a lot of work to be done before we reach the level of the developed countries where about 60 — 80 per cent of women use them. This year we have placed emphasis on reproductive health of teenagers and worked out a strategic action plan together with the WHO. We have almost finished the draft National Programme of Demographic Safety for 2006 — 2010 that envisages a number of measures on the protection of maternity, paternity and childhood. In the nearest future we are going to start a large-scale reconstruction and reequipment of maternity hospitals. Every labour ward should conform to the European standard in everything — from its finishing and equipment to the level of the specialists’ expertise. This is not an exaggeration that everything depends on the staff. Systematic training, personnel development and everyone’s serious attitude to their work will help us to sustain the results we have achieved.
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