The Tony Hawks Centre
Picture the scene. I’m in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, half way through my bizarre quest to try and beat the entire Moldovan national football team at tennis. Every day I witness another example of the poverty and hardship that so many Moldovans have to undergo.
It’s a country with huge economic difficulties, and one that the rest of the world seemed to have forgotten about. In its rush to reject communism and embrace the free market, huge swathes of the population have been forgotten about, and the safety net of any kind of social welfare seems to has more or less vanished. People on the streets are looking gloomy and downhearted, and the feeling was starting to rub of on me.
That was – until I decided to do something about it. I knew that I was going to return to Britain and write a book about my experiences and it seemed wrong to me that I should profit form this without giving anything back. One night, as I lay in bed, contemplating the plight of so many of the people, I decided that I would donate half the royalties from the book to a trust fund for Moldova. Thankfully the book sold well enough for us to be able to do something constructive with the money.
In August 2000 we opened The Hippocrates Children’s Centre, run by Diana Covalciuc, the doctor with whom I’d lodged during my Moldovan sojourn. By channeling the money through the charity Aid to Russia and the Republics (Now called Child Aid, www.childaidrr.org.uk ) who were experienced in aid in this part of the world, we were able to ensure that every penny went to the centre.
The centre describes its mission as being;
“To improve the health of children with chronic conditions who are living in socially vulnerable families. The centre accomplishes its mission by providing free consultations and medical rehabilitation services to children from birth up to the age of 15, who have chronic illnesses of the neuro-muscular, cardio-vascular or respiratory system, being previously diagnosed in a specialized medical institution. One branch of this mission is teaching parents and caretakers of children with chronic conditions to help their child live a more comprehensive life and integrate into the society.”
It definitely does this. I know because I’ve been to visit it four times now. Every year it gets better and I am so proud that such a daft bet with my mate Arthur.However, we are at a crossroads now. The need for the centre to grow is overwhelming. Moldovan politicians are waking up to the fact that this kind of healthcare should be provided by the state – but a walk around the Children’s Hospital in Chisinau will reveal just how much money needs to be spent elsewhere – and the government just doesn’t have the money.
Moldova faces yet more economic challenges as President Putin had announced that Russia will stop buying Moldovan wine - an action viewed by many to be a ‘punishment’ for Moldova looking towards Western Europe for its political allegiances)
We need to move to larger premises. The cost of property in central Chisinau has soared in the last decade as Western businesses have moved in and inflated the prices. So we need to raise a substantial amount of money to purchase a building and convert it into the new enlarged care centre.
In fact: WE NEED TO RAISE $150,000.
Why not click on the link above and give £1? Or $1 – or whatever. If you’ve had some fun on the site – then this could be a little way of ‘giving something back.’
MORE STUFF ABOUT THE CURRENT CENTRE AND ITS WORK
- To provide medical recovery services to children with chronic conditions by means of non-invasive, low-cost recovery methods such as kinesiotherapy, occupational therapy, massage, electrotherapy, orthotisation and other means;
- To provide parents with educational services in regard to selection of efficient recovery and treatment methods adequate for their child/children;
- To develop and disseminate health promotional and educational leaflets for parents and caregivers of children with chronic diseases.
The Hippocrates centre adopted a unique approach respecting the following principles:
1) Service accessibility based on the children’s needs;
2) Information and education of parents and caregivers of children with chronic illnesses;
3) Promotion of the respect for persons with physical problems;
4) Reconnaissance of the fact that a person with a physical problem is not having a disease, and that the medical approach applied in many cases in not always an adequate one;
5) Promotion and facilitation of decision autonomy for persons with physical problems;
6) Proximity of the recovery services.
What we do…
Since the opening of the centre, 90 children (from the capital as well as from the entire republic) per year were provided services. These children received treatment for a range of illnesses, including: malformations of the central nervous system; cerebral motor infirmity; neuro-muscular disorders; scoliosis; bronchial asthma; chronic bronchitis; and congenital heart disease.
Services provided to these children have included: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, electrotherapy, splinting, casting, orthosis, paediatric and other specialists’ services (such as orthopedist, neurologist, surgeon, dentist) when necessary.
Children from the ages of 0 to 15 years who suffer from chronic neuromuscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory ailments who have been diagnosed in a state medical institution.
In addition, the centre’s staff works with parents and with other caregivers of the children, in order to inform them and make them understand the specifics of their children disorders and teach them how to help their child. Many education materials have been developed and distributed. These materials facilitate the process of taking care of the child during rehabilitation and at home.
-„Tony Hawks for Moldovan children”
-„Physical therapy help at home”
-„Popularising physical therapy methods of treatment in children with locomotion disabilities”
-„Physical therapy Facilities in schools and kindergartens”
By providing direct services to beneficiaries and opening Physiotherapy services in schools and kindergartens both in rural and urban areas, the Hippocrates Centre promotes a policy facilitating the integration of children with chronic illnesses into existent community children’s collectives. As the accessibility of recovery services is one of main principles for the Hippocrates Centre’s activity, it lead to significant augmentation of the number of children preferring physical recovery, as an effective and safe recovery method.
A STATEMENT TO YOU FROM DIANA COVALCIUC
Director of the Hippocrates Centre, Chisinau
I have the unique pleasure to introduce the Health Centre for children with chronic conditions “Hippocrates”.
Health is the most precious gift given to a man, yet its maintenance throughout life is the duty of each person. The chronically sick child faces enormous obstacles in his development and social integration due to the condition.
The sufferings caused by chronic conditions both to children, and their families have served as an incentive for founding this non-governmental, non-profit establishment for children with chronic conditions coming from financially vulnerable families, in a time when the Republic of Moldova was implementing important politico-economical changes, while the pauperization has registered worrying levels. The crisis in the health system of our country has made many specialists explore the possibility of non-pharmacological treatments, comparatively less expensive and yet quite efficient for the recovery/ rehabilitation of patients with chronic conditions.
Since ancient times, Hippocrates, when describing the methods to fortify a good health and facilitate a harmonious physical and mental development, emphasized the relevance of adequate physical exercise as therapeutic and prophylactic mean. Throughout centuries, this concept did not shade and lose importance; on the contrary, it became primordial in protecting health in the last decades.
The use of exercise and modern physiotherapeutic methods represents one of the key principles adopted within the Hippocrates Centre as an important tool for functional recovery. Providing help to chronically ill children, we did not content ourselves with physical therapy. The complementary methods enhancing the rehabilitation efficiency such as occupational therapy, therapeutic massage, and orthosis are largely applied within the Hippocrates Centre.
We could not disregard the fact that the parents taking care of a child with chronic conditions have the difficult task to search for cost-efficient recovery services. Therefore, the continuous training and education of parents with regard to care of chronically ill children and the choice of adequate treatment methods, approach to and understanding of the nature of their child suffering is the core of our activity since our opening. Listening to their fears, needs, and problems and building up together recovery programs with well defined, relevant and realistic purposes, we bring the family of the chronically ill child into the focal point of the rehabilitation process.
We transform the patient and his family from the target of the recovery process into an active participant to long-term, sustainable project aiming at recovery and social integration.
Activating within a non-governmental organization, we had the possibility to collaborate with many specialists in the field of medical recovery, who helped us gain knowledge of newer methods, less practiced in our country.
All these beautiful things would not have existed without the financial support of our loyal sponsors – Tony Hawks and ChildAid from Great Britain, and we would like to express our warmest and sincere thanks in the name of those children, whose lives became better due to their help
Sincerely yours Diana Covalciuc,
Executive-director Hippocrates Centre