When it comes to health, Ukrainians tend to have a rather self-neglect attitude. However, many people do not take any check-ups due to the lack of access to medical services in their home communities. Sometimes it takes a trip to the regional center to have a diagnostic examination of all organs and systems. For this reason, people stay unaware of potential threats to their health. As a result, with statistics being distressing, doctors raise the public alarm claiming late diagnostics to be one of the reasons for this healthcare situation.
In an effort to improve access to medical services for everyone and promote regular health check-ups, we at UWCF initiated a new medical campaign Find Time for Yourself to be a part of our charity program Walking to the Health Land. This is a community outreach campaign where a mobile office of the campaign’s specialists comes to local settlements and offers everyone willing to have a free on-site ultrasonic scanning and a professional consultation by Kyiv-based doctors.
After facilitating free check-ups for residents of Mykolayivka community in Donetsk Region, the campaign Find Time for Yourself under the program Walking to the Health Land initiated by United World Cultures Foundation moved to Bilylivka village in Ruzhyn District of Zhytomyr Region.
On 17 to 18 August 2018, premises of the general practice outpatient clinic of family medicine in Bilylivka village hosted professional doctor volunteers from Kyiv to provide high quality all-body diagnostic examinations to locals. The ultrasonic scanner coverage includes thyroid glands, abdominal organs (liver, gall bladder, pancreatic gland and spleen), kidneys, pelvic organs, joints, lymph nodes, lacteal glands.
Without exaggeration, the village general practice outpatient clinic had never seen so many visitors at the same time within its walls. 239 village residents came to have medical checks and make sure they timely identify a potential disease or developmental disorder, this number including both adults and children, as the scanning procedure is absolutely safe and harmless to people of all ages, while being also among the most efficient ones.
As experience shows, this is exactly the type of consultations that are of least access for remote localities. We are happy that public health in Bilylivka is not only a concern of United World Cultures Foundation, but also that of Chairwoman of Bilylivka Village Council Ms. Liudmyla Paniot. “People are happy because not everyone has a possibility to go to the regional center”, explains Ms. Paniot, adding that this initiative will be continued. “In the future, we would like to host the campaign Find Time for Yourself under the UWCF program Walking to the Health Land, as often as once a year or maybe even once every six months. Everything depends on the local needs”.
“Our task is to make medical services more accessible to people, significantly improve service quality and reduce patient inflow at regional hospitals. It is no secret that today medical services are close to non-existent in rural areas. They are provided either on the local level as consultations by single-specialty doctors, on the regional level, or in big cities. And of course another problem is that people are afraid of going to see doctors, firstly, because they don’t have money for that, and secondly, when they have already tried out everything from old wives remedies given by neighbors and friends to advice and recommendations given by pharmacists, only then they are ready to consult medical professionals. Doctors are seen as a last resort, when it gets beyond sufferance (the disease is at the advanced stage). This is very sad”, says Liudmyla Lysenko, Head of UWCF Program Walking to the Health Land. “You know, the earlier the better... The doctors have drawn our attention to a 12-year-old boy from a multi-child family – they have found a polyp in his gall bladder. A polyp poses a threat to health as it tends to proliferate into a malignant tumor. Now we are in discussions with a physician, a gastroenterologist and a surgeon for the follow-up treatment as it is a really rare case for a GP polyp to be found in children. We are preparing documents necessary for the kid to have a treatment course in Kyiv. Our specialists have also provided checks to several disabled people as the new state-of-the-art ultrasonic scanner allows for at-home scanning of such patients”.
It is deplorable that for many of village residents it was the first time to have received a consultation from experienced doctors, and moreover, there were cases when people got to know for the first time about their disease that had already become chronic. Of course that meant shock and desperation for patients. Our campaign targeted not only to organize medical examinations for locals but also to facilitate their health improvement in the future.
You can say different things about doctors, but we can witness their work every day. They don’t have any holidays or weekends – at any time they may get called in to work or they may go as volunteers because they know there are people out there suffering from health problems and in need of professional help.
“Diagnostic findings are not encouraging. Most frequently found during the check-ups have been diffuse changes in liver tissues and changes in pancreatic glands”, comments qualified ultrasonographer Svitlana Holovatiuk. The locally well-spread crystalluria is found both in children and adults. In some patients, we have detected hepatic cysts, renal cysts, ovarian cysts, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and now these people need to see specialized doctors to have the nature of those cysts identified and diagnosis made. Patients with minor hepatic cysts (not larger than 3 cm) must have regular checks by a gastroenterologist or a hematologist. Endocrine system malfunctioning may occur to adults as well as to children. We have drawn parents’ attention to the first signs of malfunctioning thyroid gland in their children and referred them to an endocrinologist for proper examinations. It is a frequent case that hypothyroidism triggers heart and vessel disturbances”.
Today, healthcare can benefit from numerous examination techniques, and one of them is ultrasonic diagnostic scanning which allows for easy and painless procedure to carry out quantitative and qualitative data assessment, investigate the anatomy and detect pathological changes. It’s common knowledge how important it is to have an accurate diagnosis before starting any treatment.
Our new campaign Find Time for Yourself under the UWCF program Walking to the Health Land promotes the health-aware attitude as many Ukrainians still believe that it takes money and effort to stay healthy.
UWCF would like to thank DONTEM LLC and OLYMP PrJSC for financial support which helps our foundation to organize various charity campaigns, including the medical campaign Find Time for Yourself.