The phase: “Let’s talk about life, not death,” was continually repeated during the five-hour ‘Live and Believe’ marathon which was broadcast live on Galacia, a local television channel.
Commenting on the event, a spokesperson for the Ivano-Frankivsk hospice wrote: “We informed society about the problems of incurably ill children and of the children’s hospice needs.”
The organizers used Facebook, local newspapers, and video announcements on local television channels to advertise the event. Lyudmyla Andriyishyn, a leader in palliative care in Ukraine, organized several street actions, with volunteers announcing the telemarathon to the local community. Posters and bill-board also were used.
Dr Andriyishyn, a professional in palliative care in the Ivano-Frankivsk region and director of the All-Ukrainian Palliative Care Training Center of the Ivano-Frankivsk city regional hospice, initiated the idea of the first children’s hospice in Ukraine.
The local authorities supported the initiative of NGOs and doctors, and organised the campaign to fundraise money for renovation and equipment purchase for the new medical establishment. The premises were already financed and money for staff salaries had been allocated from the regional government budget, but there was still a need to raise public awareness, as well as additional funds from philanthropists in order to provide proper living conditions for children and their relatives.
The number of patients in need of palliative care in Ukraine is over 500,000 persons per year. Special establishments like hospices (seven by official statistics) and palliative departments (1054 beds including hospices) exist for adults or seniors, but there are no establishments in Ukraine for children. There are palliative care on-site services in different regions of Ukraine, but none of them is specialized to work with children.
In 2012, the International Renaissance Foundation, together with experts from the League for Palliative Care, Caritas Ukraine International Charitable Foundation, conducted a needs assessment for palliative care in Ukraine. As early as the documentation collection, the research group acknowledged that palliative care provision in pediatrics needs in-depth study.
Advocates have called upon the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, with engagement of professionals and civil organizations, to develop palliative care protocols for children, guided by the principle of maximum quality of life for severely ill children. According to specialists and statistical analysis of mortality and morbidity, more than 6,500 children aged 0-19 years old need palliative care in Ukraine. Moreover, members of their families, around 15,000 people, should also be kept in mind in terms of carer support and bereavement counselling. There is a high need for the development of palliative care for children.
During the telemarathon the talk was not limited to money, but also highlighted the role of such notions as mercy, charity, sympathy, and helpfulness in modern life. Health workers talked about the urgency to create such paediatric medical establishments in the region.
The total amount of money raised was $ 138,312.
Further information on the event can be found on the web page of the Ivano-Frankivsk Hospice.