St.Petersburg-based non-governmental organization 'Doctors to Children'

DTC's mission is to protect the rights of at-risk children and families, and provide them with access to quality social, psychological and medical services. DTC's goals include: (1) Forming policies and public opinion around the issues of at-risk children and families, (2) Decreasing the number of neglected and abandoned children and at-risk children and families through prevention and multidisciplinary interventions, and (3) Providing access to high-quality medical, social and psychological care to at-risk children and families. To achieve these goals, DTC employs the following strategies: (1) Advocating for the rights of at-risk children and families; (2) Providing direct comprehensive ass...
Apr 1, 2015

Project's news

NY
NY

New Year Holiday at the MAMA+ Center

As a matter of tradition, on December 30, 2014, DTC with the support of staff of the Novartis-Neva LLC organized a New Year holiday for children at the MAMA+ Center. The company staff prepared individual presents for children, responding to letters written by the children’s mothers in advance. Additionally, the company staff prepared a performance for MAMA+ young clients, with participation of Father Frost and the Snow Maiden. The holiday culminated in tea and sweets.

Older Children were engaged by Father Frost in creative assignments, reading rhymes, guessing riddles, and singing songs. Both younger and older kids participated in the activities organized by the long-awaited guest. Everybody was given a present and sweets. Before leaving the party, Father Frost wished all the children good health in the New Year.

 

Klava (29 years old) and Serafima (two months old)

Klava was referred to the MAMA+ Project by doctors of the Botkin Hospital. In January 2015, the woman gave birth to a girl. While she was pregnant, she was using drugs and alcohol, which resulted in premature delivery. After giving birth, Klava stopped using drugs.

The doctors provided Klava with medical examination, which revealed severe sexually transmitted infection. Therefore, the newborn girl showed symptoms of prenatal infection. After birth, the girl in critical condition was transferred from the maternity hospital to an intensive care unit of a city children’s hospital. During pregnancy Klava was not taking ARV therapy, which augmented her risk of transmitting the virus to her child.

Assessing the woman’s life situation, MAMA+ staff found that she was a social orphan and had no housing.

Given that her daughter was born prematurely, Klava had no chances to obtain the maternity certificate (a medical insurance policy for pregnant women) to ensure her child’s right to free medical care.

Presently the girl is placed in a premature baby unit of the hospital. Her mother was referred to an STD clinic for a course of treatment. As the treatment is going to take an extended period of time, Serafima will be placed in a babies’ home for a while.

As the woman has no housing on her own, she will have nowhere to take her daughter after the discharge. In this difficult life situation, she contacted MAMA+ for assistance.

All MAMA+ efforts are currently aimed to support the child in the hospital: the project staff members are visiting the girl regularly, providing her with baby formula and hygienic products. Additionally, the project staff members are providing support to Klava, supervising her progress of treatment. As soon as she gets better and her daughter is discharged from the hospital, MAMA+ staff members are planning to place the family in the MAMA+ Halfway House for a program of temporary residence and crisis support.

Dec 30, 2014

Latest News of the Foster Family Project

During the period from October through December 2014, DTC Foster Family Project staff provided consultations to 72 potential foster parents; 46 foster families benefited from project comprehensive psychosocial services; four children who lost parental support were placed in families trained at the School for Foster Parents.

On November 20, the project staff organized a meeting of the Club of Foster Families devoted to the International Mother’s Day. As part of the meeting, volunteers of the Amway Company engaged children and parents in a wonderful quiz session: the participants were invited to recall poems, songs, films about mothers, and fulfill creative assignments. Besides, the volunteers conducted workshops for children on creating wristlets, hairpins and postcards for their mothers. All the meeting participants received wonderful gifts from the Amway Company and Doctors to Children.

The next meting of the Club of Foster Families took place on December 21 at the Radisson Royal Hotel. That time the club meeting was turned to the New Year celebration. With the support of the hotel, DTC organized a holiday for 35 children and 28 parents who were under the project supervision. This is the second time that the hotel provided the venue for the New Year holiday. Each child was given an individual present from Father Frost. The holiday culminated in tea, sweet buffet and a large cake topped with a firework.

 Anna, 26, and her foster daughter Olya, 6, participated in the above two meetings of the Club. In spring 2014, Anna completed a course of DTC’s School for Foster Parents. In June 2014, she took Olga to her family. In October 2014, the woman contacted the project staff with a request for assistance. Olya is suffering from infantile cerebral paralysis. Her condition is exacerbated by psychological issues, including fears, aggressive behavior, and hyperactivity. Anna is raising the girl on her own and is in need of support from at least one more adult (maybe a volunteer), who could substitute her (for several hours a week) and become a friend of their family. The project staff arranged a medical case conference with participation of a pediatrician and a neurologist who provided Anna with relevant recommendations. After a number of medical examinations prescribed to the girl, the project staff will initiate another case conference to monitor Olga’s health status. The family was also provided with psychological support, social worker’s consultations, as well as material assistance.

To date, due to the project support, the child is no more facing difficulties in setting contact with other children. Olya is no more bothered by fears and nightmares. The project staff members were able to find a volunteer to stay with Olya once or twice a week, thus saving more spare time for the foster mother. Olya began to attend sessions at the children’s dancing school “Get Over”. This school is attended by different children, including children with special needs. The family continued to receive the project assistance.

 We are grateful to everyone supporting the Foster Family Project in St. Petersburg and helping us make children happy!

Dec 22, 2014

Latest news about MAMA+ project

Kristina and Matvey
Kristina and Matvey

Kristina and Matvey

MAMA+ staff first met with Kristina, 33, in the middle of March 2014 at a hospital prenatal unit. According to information provided by the unit staff, that moment the woman was in abstinence after drug abuse, though she denied that. MAMA+ staff members provided her with the details of the project opportunities, psychological support and contact information. Kristina promised to think it over and call back. On the following day, she gave birth to her son Matvey. The boy was transferred to a children’s hospital immediately for treatment and care provided to children born prematurely.

Two weeks later, Kristina called to MAMA+ and asked for the project support. It was found that she had been using injection drugs for over 16 years. In 2009, she served a term of confinement in prison. That was the period when she refrained from drugs and wanted to change something in her life. This is when she learned she was HIV-positive. However her main problem that several times brought her to risk behaviors was inability to arrive at understanding with her mother. Frequent conflicts were putting the family at risk of segregation.

 Kristina could not stay with her relatives in a communal apartment, as her room was occupied by her brother with his girlfriend while she was in prison, and another room was shared by her mother and her step-father who abused alcohol and often worked off anger on her. A teenager, Kristna began to live on her own staying at her friends’ and spending much time on the street where she got addicted to drugs and experienced a sexual offence.

When Matvey was born, Krisitna’s mother kept her away from home. The woman stressed that her drug-abusing daughter had no right to give birth to children at all. Doctors of the children’s hospital where the baby was placed in also supposed that Krisina would not be able to cope up with her addiction and would not take her baby home. MAMA+ staff began their work with the client with assessing her resources, providing her with psychological support and motivating her for substance abuse treatment. It was found that Kristina’s main resource was her domestic partner, Matvey’s father. He had no experience of using drugs and had no HIV-status.

Escorted by the project staff, Kristina visited her son at the hospital. MAMA+ provided the woman with material assistance, including hygienic goods and baby formula. The project staff also assisted Kristina in receiving a substance abuse treatment course which helped her retain stable remission from drugs. Due to MAMA+ support Kristina improved her life situation, and in a short while she was permitted by the hospital to take Matvey home.

MAMA+ staff also interacted with the client’s mother to improve the family situation and ensure the family support. Their efforts resulted in attaining legal grounds for Kristina to stay with her relatives at their housing and have her baby registered. A court trial was initiated to divide the ownership rights and arrears or rent between the family members. Nevertheless, the multi-year conflict in this family continued.

Presently, Kristina, her partner and her baby are living in a rented apartment. The woman’s partner has an unstable income source. The main source of financial support is his parents. Kristina was prescribed continuous ARV therapy. Once the woman interrupted the treatment without doctors’ permission. This had negative impact on her health status. MAMA+ staff were able to explain her the importance of continuous therapy intake.

Matvey has developmental delays resulted by neurological disorders. His mother brings him for medical consultations and physical therapy sessions. MAMA+ and other staff involved believe that his health status will improve by one year of age. Now he is eight and a half years old, and he rejoices at everything that surrounds him.

Kristina
Kristina

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