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American Jewish Medical Center

The state of medical care in the FSU in the early 1990's and even 2000's was dismal, archaic and terribly lacking in diagnostics and proper hygiene. In most hospitals, patients would be required to bring their own linen and food and even purchase their own medications, as the States could simply not afford it on its own. Many patients also had to pay privately to get decent attention and basic medical care.

Doctors on humanitarian missions with GJARN were shocked and horrified by the sites of the clinics and State hospitals they visited. We were determined to help, in any way we could.

Our first reaction was to collect donations of sample and surplus medications from the USA and to ship them to local Jewish communities who had a nurse or doctor on staff helping the sick and needy.

Later, we began setting up small clinics with very basic equipment at local Synagogues to treat the poor and sick people.(see relaed article: Free Pharmacies)

We began brining volunteer doctors from the USA and Israel to train local doctors and update them on modern diagnostics and new treatments currently available. A hernia operation performed as an out patient surgery in the States and where the patient can return home after several hours, could require a two to three week hospital stay in the FSU! Let to mention the level of hygiene and lack of heating and supplies!

In 1998, GJARN received a monetization grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sell surplus USDA milk powder in Ukraine and to use the proceeds for a long term project that would benefit the people of Ukraine.

Several months earlier, doctors from Boston and Project Vision had been to Dnepropetrovsk and had screened over 600 random patients requiring vision treatment and had pledged to help create an Eye Center. These two groups suggested the need to build and an open a professional eye clinic in this eastern city of Ukraine if funding could be found. The suggested capital (at that time) to establish a clinic with purchase of medical equipment was suggested to be around $650,000 - $900.000.

The doctors from Project Vision and the Boston Jewish Community would provide the training, but the community needed to find the funding.

At the time, we were discussing with the community a project which would establish the first Home for the Jewish Elderly in Ukraine, which was to be a three way project between the Jewish Community, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and GJARN.(see related article on Beit Baruch).

Based on the projected proceeds from this sale, and estimated costs for each of these two projects, we agreed to fund both of them.

With initial funding from Mr. Viktor Pinchuk, a prominent member of the local Jewish community, GJARN brought a team of 16 doctors and other specialists from the USA and Israel to a local eye clinic owned by Mr. Pinchuk, and once again saw and treated several hundred eye care patients.

Based on this initial visit and several follow up meetings with Project Vision and doctors from the Boston Jewish Community, GJARN agreed to undertake the establishment of the  American Jewish Medical Center.

Unfortunately, the Russian and Ukrainian markets crashed in September 1998 and the proceeds derived from this sale were less than one fourth of the original anticipated sum.  Regardless, GJARN proceeded with plans for both projects, agreeing to invest $300,000 towards the establishment of the Assisted Living Center and the rest towards creating the medical center. An abandoned public school building owned by a local metal factory was purchased, plans were drawn up and we began a renovation and major expansion of the premises in what would become a 60,000 sq. foot western , modern medical center.

After many hurdles in obtaining necessary building permits, and related licenses, and after expending over $3M in construction and building equipment expenses, GJARN had completed over 90% of the construction of this magnificent facility.

The world economy began a slow meltdown  the early 2000's and many pledges from local and international philanthropists did not materialize and we simply could not complete the final 10% renovations and also come up with the funds needed to purchase all the medical equipment.

We maintained the building, kept it secure and finally in August 29, 2007, GJARN signed a strategic agreement with the Kapla Rosy Medical Group (Kiev, Ukraine) which enabled the opening of the Kaply Rosy /American Jewish Medical Center in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.

As part of our partnership, GJARN maintains a local office at the medical center and acts as a liaison to the Jewish community and larger community as a whole, to ensure quality care is given of the highest standards are given to all, and special arrangements made via GJARN to accommodate needy patients who can not afford the regular prices and even those who require totally free care.

Individual doctors and/or volunteer medical groups interested in raising the standards of medical care in Ukraine and continuing to help treat needy patients who could otherwise not afford these special treatments are asked to contact the GJARN office at info@globaljewish.org.

 

 

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