The Anna Mazurenko Children’s Health Centre was inaugurated in Lviv on July 11, 2014. It will be located beside the Western Ukrainian Specialized Children’s Medical Centre, commonly known as the Chornobyl Hospital.
Experts for the Anna Mazurenko Centre will be provided by specialists who worked in similar children’s health centres in Toronto (Canada) and Los Angeles (USA). The uniqueness of the Mazurenko Centre is that, unlike existing centres, it will focus primarily on children's mental health problems, which is a very important but often neglected area of health care. The services of the Mazurenko Centre will be delivered in accordance with modern European standards, diagnostics protocols and children's health therapy.
Dr. A. Kushnir, head of the Mazurenko Children’s Health Centre, and the Head of the Medical Committee of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program (CUPP) Alumni Association, spoke about the work and plans of the Centre: “Thanks to the support of the Anna Mazurenko Fund we have researched the needs of children's hospitals in Lviv and western Ukraine, and received financial support to purchase medical equipment, such as sophisticated incubators for neonatal patients of premature birth and birth defects.”
Anna Mazurenko, a Canadian citizen of Ukrainian ancestry actively supported and helped many projects in Ukraine, among them the Dzerelo Centre in Lviv. She was a life-long member of the Ukrainian Women’s Organization, Olha Basarab Branch in Toronto and the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada, Toronto Branch. She wanted to improve the health and living conditions of children in Ukraine. Today, the Mazurenko Fund continues to help in this by purchasing equipment for children's hospitals in Lviv and other oblasts. The Mazurenko Children’s Health Centre has already spend over three million Ukrainian hryvnia at the 3rd phase of its assistance program. The largest project to date, will be the Mazurenko Children’s Health Centre in Lviv.”
The organizers of the project anticipate that this new Centre will provide professional advice, timely diagnostics, and thus offer effective help to children diagnosed with developmental disorders and psychological problems. Families will benefit from the program which will use evidence-based criteria designed by modern European and world approaches of psychological assistance.
“The problems in the field of mental health of children and teenagers are common but very important. Their early detection and proper care can significantly help the family and the child to overcome existing difficulties and improve the quality of their lives. Despite the efforts of many dedicated specialists, Ukraine is far behind European standards of care. It is vital that the Mazurenko Centre be created in Lviv and operate based on European standards. I hope that with the assistance of our governments we will seize this opportunity and create this much needed Centre. This initiative will provide information to our families, train specialists and conduct scientific research,” said the Director of the Institute of Mental Health of the Ukrainian Catholic University – Dr. Oleh Romanchuk.
The Centre will admit children from Lviv and other western Ukrainian regions, therefore it is important for the whole region. Dr. Iryna Mykychak, the Deputy Director of the Health Department of Lviv oblast, stated: “Ukraine has attained associate membership in the EU which will require important changes in every sphere, including health care. Psychiatric care for children in Ukraine must be brought closer to western standards. With the establishment of this cooperation with the Mazurenko Fund, the Lviv Oblast Department of Health will enthusiastically support this joint project.”
Representatives of the Anna Mazurenko Fund declared their backing for the purchase of an adjoining building to the Chornobyl Hospital. After major renovations are completed, this building will become the Anna Mazurenko Children’s Health Centre of Ukraine.
CUPP Director Ihor Bardyn said: “Over the past 24 years the Alumni of the Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Program have been involved in civil society and democracy building projects. Today, our alumni begin a new initiative, namely, in the field of children’s health. The health of children today will determine the health and prosperity of Ukraine in the future. The support from the Anna Mazurenko Fund will depend on the transparent cooperation on the Ukrainian side and specifically Ukrainian government agencies. The Anna Mazurenko Fund, CUPP Alumni who are active in the establishment of the “Professional Government” project in Kyiv will expect the same level of transparency and cooperation from government agencies in Lviv and Kyiv. I am optimistic that together we will succeed”.