Medical care for elderly Gypsies
As we wrote in our last bulletin, now that “Memorial” is a partner organisation of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), it has set up a programme to provide medical care to those elderly Gypsies who were affected either directly or indirectly by fascism.
The programme is being continued in the Krasnoselskii district of St. Petersburg, is being actively developed in the Gatchina district of the Leningrad region, and preparations for the implementation of the project have begun in the Tosnenskii and Vsevolozhskii districts of the Leningrad region (collecting information, issuing individual taxpayer numbers). We should remind readers that the Gypsies participating in the programme were born before 9 May 1945, and live and are registered in St. Petersburg or in the Leningrad region. To receive medical attention, an individual taxpayer number must be obtained from the district tax office (our staff can help to do this, by visiting the homes of the elderly Gypsies, photocopying their passports, helping to write declarations, and communicating with the tax officials). The plan is to provide help to 250 individuals, of whom 100 are already involved in the programme.
So far, more than 50 people have already had full tests at the Gatchina district hospital: the programme includes examinations by specialists (surgeon, neurologist, dentist, oculist, etc.), as well as ultrasound examinations, cardiograms and biochemical analyses. Patients have received the necessary medicines and spectacles, and the process of fitting dentures has begun. It emerged that some patients urgently needed to go into hospital (two people went, at the programme’s expense, to paying places in the cardiology department: one went to the neurology department and another was sent for an urgent operation). Now the second phase of the programme has begun: re-examinations by specialists. All of this medical care is provided to the Gypsies free of charge. The patients are brought to the hospital and back in a special bus.
In special cases, the programme will also cover expensive medical care (for example, for buying equipment for disabled people, dentures, special tests, complex operations). In such cases, the need will be revealed by doctors over the course of an examination, and special funds will be provided to cover that need.
The project has received an enthusiastic response from elderly Gypsies. They consider the provision of dentures to be particularly important – the fairly high prices mean that they are not accessible to everybody, meaning that the help offered here is particularly appropriate. The programme’s coordinator Valentina Grigorevna Pavlichenko has heard plenty of complimentary remarks. We also would like to wish good health to all elderly Gypsies!
The coordinator of the medical programme, V.G. Pavlichenko, talks to a patient
V.G. Pavlichenko hands out medicines prescribed by doctors.