Today I want to tell you a little bit more about GSK role in TOGETHER 4 BETTER HEALTH partnership. And how GSK support disadvantage group of people in Europe. And about ours with Natalia trip to Romania for visiting OvidiuRo and Roma settlement, kindergartens and Medical Karavan)
TOGETHER 4 BETTER HEALTH – a pan European partnership to improve the health of Roma people living in isolated communities in Europe.
THE PARTNERS IN THE TG4BH ARE: National Network of Health Mediators, Partners Hungary, OvidiuRo Association, and Association for Culture, Education and Communication.
With the support from the GSK community partnership program, a (now) 6 year program was initiated in 2012 with the aim of improving the health of those living in socially excluded and isolated Roma communities in Europe by bringing together four distinct NGOs from Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia.
In Slovakia GSK support a Health Mediator Network – now they have 22 Health Mediators. All of them are Roma people and this job is a real chance to change their life for better.
In Romania GSK cooperate with OvidiuRo and support two projects – Medical Caravan and implementation of PHASE (Personal Hygiene and Sanitation education ) for children in the kindergarten.
OvidiuRo was founded by Maria Gheorghiu and Leslie Hawke in 2004, after working with the poorest children in Bacau.
So at first we joined the Medical Karavan. It’s an initiative of OvidiuRo with GSK support to increase access for health care for poor people at the villages in Romania. More than 20 students from last year of medical University and 10 doctors go to the village for a weekend and make checkups for the inhabitants. During these checkups doctors can diagnose a lot of disease like tuberculoses or diabetes or hypertension and give advice for the people. Of course with children doctors tell how to wash the teeth and hands.
Because of lack of proper health care in such places there were a lot of people waiting for help during these checkups. At first day it was more than 160 people and at the second – more than 100!!!
It is really great job and OvidiuRo set these checkups for 3 or 4 times per year.
The second part of our trip was dedicated for The Every Child in Preschool (FCG) program.
This program was launched in partnership with the Ministry of Education in 2010. Since then over 11,000 children in 43 rural and semi-rural communities have benefited from early education and better nutrition through FCG. Currently 2.500 children in 43 communities from 11 counties are included in the Every Child in Preschool program.
Every Child in Preschool has doubled the preschool daily attendance rates of severely impoverished children from 43% to 82% through the food coupons. Parents receive €12 in food coupons at the end of the month if they take their child to preschool every day. In Romania, the monthly child allowance (which is unconditional) is €10, so this is a significant increase for families surviving on their children’s allowance.
We were at different kindergartens in small villages at the center of Romania. And we saw really great progress, before this program a lot of children from the poorest family were behind the kindergarten education, because they have no proper clothes to join children in there. But now in every groups in the kindergartens are more than 20 children and a lot of them are in this program! It was so nice to see how beautiful they are! And you could not find the difference between Roma and not Roma kids, they are just pretty and nice children! And I think it was right strategy not divide people and children for Roma and not Roma, therefore you can avoid this positive discrimination when you distinguish people by nationality. In the kindergartens teachers were implementing the elements of PHASE. We were at the class where children received the basic knowledge about personal hygiene and proper nutrition. And it was in nice manner, like a game so everyone was interesting in.
At the end of our trip we visited OvidiuRo office. It was so nice to be there. Arina shared with us materials they created for children for Summer School. And after this we had a meeting at GSK office in Romania. We shared an experience and talked with colleagues from Corporate Affairs and Communication Department on how to promote the PULSE program/ and other forms of volunteering among GSK colleagues in Romania. We shared PULSE impact report and GSK PULSE volunteer website – which are going to be used in further information campaign in Bucharest office