Belarus, Switzerland to continue Mother and Child Health Project in new format

The Belarusian-Swiss cooperation under the Mother and Child Health Project in the Gomel and Mogilev oblasts will be continued in a new format, BelTA learnt from the press service of the Health Ministry.

Humanitarian aid programmes in Belarus launched by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in 2001 are aimed at supporting socially vulnerable sections of the society, mitigating the Chernobyl consequences, preventing catastrophes and providing relief efforts and also assisting to public organisations involved in social activities. As Belarus has reached a new level of social and economic development, it does not need the assistance in the same amount, SDC officials said in a meeting with First Deputy Healthcare Minister of Belarus Robert Chestnoit. In this respect the cooperation will be frozen by 2010. In 2009 it will be continued only in some areas.

Thus the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation jointly with the Belarusian Healthcare Ministry will continue working on improving the primary medical services to rural residents of the Mogilev oblast affected by the Chernobyl disaster. The cooperation will be continued in testing the protocol on diagnostics and prevention of Group B streptococcus fetal infections in neonates.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Healthcare Ministry of Belarus started cooperation based on the memorandum of intent in 2002. In 2002-2006 the maternity department of the Mogilev emergency hospital, the Slavgorod, Cherikov and Krasnopolye central hospitals were provided with medical and office equipment under the Mother and Child Health Project in the Gomel and Mogilev oblasts with the SDC financial assistance. The maternity department of the Gomel hospital and the Gomel oblast children's hospital, the Bragin, Khoiniki and Narovlya territorial medical organisations were supplied with necessary equipment as well.

Training seminars for medical personnel working in the affected areas have been jointly held with the Mogilev and Gomel healthcare departments, BelMAPO and specialists from Russia, France and Switzerland. The Mother and Child Research Centre, sanitary and epidemiological services of Belarus together with specialists from Switzerland and France have worked out the instructions on how to prevent, diagnose and treat GBS infections in neonates.

In 2007-2008, Switzerland allocated CHF 1.7 million to finance the Mogilev oblast programme.

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