10 Child Development Offices were set up in Ungheni and Cahul
Furniture, medical equipment and toys bought with EU support
‘Even when healthy, children want to come to the clinic’, told us several mothers from Bucuria village, Cahul district, who we met at the local Health Center, where they often come with their children for routine check-ups or treatment. Bucuria Health Center is one of the ten health centers in Cahul and Ungheni districts that received European Union support to set up and equip Child Development Offices - child-friendly space where the family doctor or pediatrician consults parents with children.
Olga Pancu is a mother of three children. Last year, she often came from the neighboring village of Moscovei for the monthly check-up of her five-month daughter. Like her, other parents from the neighboring villages of Lucești, Tătărești and Huluboaia, with the total population estimated at about 4700 inhabitants, visit frequently the Child Development Office. Olga says that setting up an office dedicated to children and parents has brought a significant change.
‘We are very satisfied with the health care offered here. Now it's much better than before - it's clean and warm, children can play quietly and safely, while parents talk to doctors’, Olga told us.
The head of Bucuria Health Center, Victoria Miclaus, who has been a family doctor in this community for three years, says that she sees tens of parents and children every week. Now, with the furbished and equipped child-friendly office, it is much easier to provide the health care they need, as previously children used to be consulted in the same place as adults.
‘It is known that in the villages the conditions are not the best. Many parents do not have at home the things that we have here in the office. We have everything we need - table for newborns with mattress, electronic scale, pedometer for infants, nursing pillow, table and chairs for children, washable toys, children's books arranged on a stand. Everything a doctor needs to help children and make them feel well when coming for a check-up. I am glad that we have a colorful and attractive space for the little ones, where we have the opportunity to offer professional health care in a calm and child-friendly environment, to ensure fair access for all children to quality services, to discuss with adults without rushing and give them parenting advice and guidance’, said Victoria.
Marina Lupu also came for a routine visit with her 12-month little boy Nicolae. She used to come to Bucuria Health Center with her other two children, and the fact that there is an office dedicated to children, equipped according to European standards, makes her extremely happy. From now on, visits to the doctor will be pleasant for both children and their parents.
In Moscovei village, the general conditions in the clinic are better, but we have been coming to Bucuria Health Center for many years. We like it more here because the medical staff is nicer and more qualified. I have three children and all of them have been receiving health care here for the past 15 years already. I was pleasantly surprised to see how the children's office was transformed. The clinic used to be heat with the stove, and we didn't even dream of toys or nursing pillows. Now it's different. We gladly come here to rest while the children play and the doctor gives us advice’, Marina told us.
‘This office reminds me of my childhood. Until recently, it was associated with fear... Now it's different - everything is new, beautiful, colorful. Our children will have different memories and we, the parents, will no longer be waiting in the corridor when we come. It's like a mini kindergarten. Here, children make friends and then already play together in kindergarten and at school. It's very well-equipped with everything a mother with a newborn needs, as well as toys for the older ones’, said Gabriela Braileanu, the mother Sofia, aged one year and five months, who was also waiting to see the doctor.
At about 30 km from the village of Bucuria, we were met by the Head of Găvănoasa Health Center from the village with the same name. Svetlana Percembli spent her childhood in Găvănoasa. For the past 28 years, she has been a doctor at the local Health Center, which provides services to residents of three neighboring communities. A huge responsibility, as well as an indescribable pleasure when you are helpful, as the doctor herself admitted to us.
The Găvănoasa Health Center received European Union support to set up and equip a Child Development Office. Several mothers were already waiting for her in the office, including Irina Cosinschi and her six-year-old daughter, Xenia. Irina has another child diagnosed with autism. She is grateful for the wonderful changes made at the children's office, underlying the positive impact of the pleasant environment and qualified health care on her child's health and well-being.
‘In our society, almost all children associate doctors and hospitals with pain and fear. This perception is slowly changing. We are already coming to a colorful office, with different activities. My child's attention is captured, and she stops thinking that the doctor might do something she won't like. The space is well-equipped, and the staff always welcomes us with gentleness and kindness. I thank them very much and am grateful to them’, Irina told us.
Vera has been a nurse in Găvănoasa for 38 years. As she says: ‘times have changed, it used to be harder. Now the conditions are better, and our work is easier with all the modern equipment we have’.
At Găvănoasa Health Center, Thursday is Healthy Child Day, and parents know that they can come on this day to get advice, see a pediatrician or another specialist doctor.
Child Development Offices were also set up and equipped in the health centers of Cahul and Ungheni municipalities and in six other health centers from Slobozia Mare, Crihana Veche, Măcărești, Costuleni, Pîrlița, Valea Mare and Rădenii Vechi in the two districts. The procurements, amounting to MDL 350,000, were made under ‘Strengthening the capacity of primary healthcare care workers to provide quality maternal, child and adolescent health services in Cahul and Ungheni regions’ Project, launched last February. The project is implemented as part of EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The total value of the project is over USD 100,000 (MDL 2,116,920).
As ensuring a healthy start in life is one of the cornerstones of any health system, actions to strengthen child development monitoring will contribute to an improved and more efficient work of family doctors and nurses, with a special focus on prevention and early identification of the needs of children and families, as well as on the implementation of specific interventions to respond to their needs. The project will also contribute to building a favorable environment for every child to grow and develop, and for every boy and girl to benefit from equitable access to quality health services.
The EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Programme facilitates inclusive and sustainable local socio-economic growth and improves the living standards of people in Ungheni and Cahul regions. The programme, which is to be implemented until 2024, has a total budget of EUR 23.3 million.
This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its content is the exclusive responsibility of EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Programme, financed by the European Union. The content of the publication belongs to the authors and does not necessarily reflect the view of the European Union.