On 8 February 2012, more than EUR 41,000 worth of medical equipment was officially handed over to the Vitebsk Regional Diagnostic Centre. The ceremony was attended by Leszek Szerepka, Poland's Ambassador to Belarus.
Thanks to the Small Grants Programme, it was possible to purchase an impedance audiometer and an Eclipse system. The devices allow early detection of hearing loss in newborns, exact hearing loss diagnostics, early-age auditory prosthetics and rehabilitation for children suffering from chronic hearing impairments and speech disorders. As Vladimir Orehva, the Centre's chief physician, emphasized, the equipment will help improve the quality of healthcare services in the Vitebsk Region and enhance routine audiology tests for children.
The new medical apparatus will above all accelerate social integration of children with hearing impairments. According to official records, around 7,000 children in the Vitebsk Region suffer from hearing impairments. Out of this number, 580 are afflicted with severe deafness, more than 1,500 with mild and moderate deafness and over 1,800 with single-sided deafness. Every year, approximately 500 children are diagnosed with different types of hearing impairments in the Region.
As Poland's Ambassador to Belarus Leszek Szerepka noted, it was the second project that the Polish Embassy in Minsk had implemented in cooperation with the charitable NGO "Verbalik". In the previous year, i.e. 2010, the Embassy carried out a similar project in Gomel through the Small Grants Programme in the framework of Poland's Development Cooperation. As a result, more than EUR 54,000 worth of medical equipment was purchased for the Central City Children's Polyclinic.
Ambassador Leszek Szerepka's visit to Vitebsk and the official handing over of the equipment were covered by the Belarusian news agency Belta (http://www.belta.by/) and regional media.