5h November 2013

• 1.000 children received free medical tests, and are now assigned to a primary doctor; they also receive medicine, vitamins and free transportation to the doctor’s;

• Practitioners from three conduct regular checks to remote villages;

• The 3-year project is funded by GSK Romania (150,000 €);

An important reason for the poor children’s low attendance rate in kindergarten are health problems.  OvidiuRo, with the support of GSK Romania, is currently at the mid-term of implementing the „Together for a better health” program-as part of the Fiecare Copil in Gradinita program (Every child in kindergarten).  The grant from GSK has made it possible to develop local projects that focused on periodic health checks, mandatory vaccinations, purchase medicines, and running health education and hygiene programs with the children and their parents.

Seventeen communities from Alba, Brasov, Bacau, Cluj, Covasna, Dolj, Dambovita, Mures, Sibiu, Vaslui counties have implemented the project.  850 children received checkups. Exams revealed that 15% of the children had intestinal parasites and 8% had streptococcal investigations.  This year the investigations will take place again and will cover almost 1,000 children.

Low immunization rates, the lack of adequate nutrition and inadequate living conditions are only some of the daily worries that these poor parents are struggling with. Thanks to „Together for a Better Health”, over 1,000 children received medications, vitamins and free transportation to the doctor and 80 children from two villages in Covasna, who had only been vaccinated at birth, were able to bridge the gap.

Thia project has faced many challenges but also achieved great results.  Local community members understood that the education of kids is strongly bonded with their health.  The project benefits from the involvement of kind-hearted people, our partners from OvidiuRo, health mediators and members of the local communities, declared Andreia Cucu, Communication Manager for GSK Romania.

„It is our deepest desire that every child we bring to kindergarten to be a healthy child.  This project supports parents who just can’t manage to meet all the problems they are confronted with.  We are very happy to have partners, who offer the tools needed to fight school abandonment due to the bad health of poor children.  Thanks to the close collaboration with the local teams we have taken some important steps towards our long term goal: making Fiecare Copil in Gradinita public policy” said Maria Gheorghiu, Cofounder and CEO of OvidiuRo.

With the support of OvidiuRo and GSK, in 2013, 120 teachers organized summer programs in 14 counties for 1,500 children.  The kids learned more about their body, discovered the importance of hygiene and healthy eating and found out how to protect themselves from various diseases.  The children were encouraged to ask questions and find answers, to experiment and discover, to be creative and work together.  The Summer Workshops ended with a “Best Practices” Conference, attended by 70 teachers and education experts.

In July, 20 students from the „Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy” of Bucharest and 15 specialists, from the “Together for Rural health” Medicine Students Society worked with OvidiuRo to organize a medical caravan in Valcele (Covasna county) and Tarlungeni(Brasov county).  400 children and 380 adults received exams and medical tests (collection of blood for cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and hemoglobin tests, electrocardiograms, and abdominal ultrasounds, fast tests for streprtoccos, rotavirus and adenovirus).  Many children were diagnosed with respiratory problems, intestinal parasites, anemia and rickets.  In Valcele, out of the 20 children, only 5 were healthy.  The food they lacks the vitamins and nutrients needed for growth- their diet mainly consists of french fries, bread, baloney, very little fruits and vegetables and a very small amount of water.  During the activities organized in kindergarten, children received a healthy snack (fruits, yogurt and cereals) and during the cold season, most of the received vitamins.

In Borosneu (Covasna), it was discovered that 60 children and adults were consuming water from a polluted well. OvidiuRo with the help of GSK Romania, dug a new well, in record time, allowing locals to have access to clean, fresh water.

SASTIPEN Center for Health Policy and Together For a Better Health supported the communities with the paychecks of the health mediators, temporarily, until the municipalities took over.

Foto: Cosmin Bumbuț

Fiecare Copil in Gradinita

Through Fiecare Copil in Gradinita, the program launched by OvidiuRo and the Ministry of Education in July 2010, 1.300 disadvantaged children go to kindergarten every day in 40 kindergartens from 19 poor communities in 10 counties.  The project’s success comes from the innovative tool- 50 lei (aprox.12 EUR) social tickets that the parents get if they bring their child to kindergarten daily.  Social tickets provide families with an additional income for food.  OvidiuRo allocates a yearly sum of 60 lei aprox.14 EUR)/child for school supplies and educational materials.  Also, City Councils cover the costs for clothing and footwear.

Before the project, poor children attended kindergarten occasionally and failed to accumulate the necessary knowledge required in the early school years.  With the launch of the Fiecare Copil in Gradinita project,  the daily attendance rate for all the benefiting children sky-rocketed.  In communities like Araci (Covasna county) over 150 children go to kindergarten every day.

The OvidiuRo Association was founded in 2004, by Leslie Hawke and Maria Gheorghiu, who developed programs for supporting disadvantaged children in order to prevent school dropouts in 2001. The long term purpose for OvidiuRo is to turn early education into a public policy, because an educated workforce is essential to the economic future of a country.   Otherwise, those who currently have a job will be forced to support future generations of retirees and those who are or will be unemployed.  Find out more on www.ovid.ro.  Press contact: Simona Ilas, communication specialist, simona@ovid.ro, 0728-778-821.

Together for a Better Health – launched in 2012 in Romania, is part of a larger project financed through European Community Partnerships, that supports local initiatives in health and health infrastructure.  Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia-found among the European countries with the largest Roma population- have started this project.   Grants offered regionally by the pharmaceutical company GSK come to­­­­ over 500,000 , of which more than 150.000 have been granted to Romania, through Asociatia OvidiuRo.

GSK-one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, whose portfolio is based on a substantial research and development.  GSK is committed to improving the quality of people’s life, by helping them do more, feel better and live longer.

For more information, please contact Adelina Nedelcu-Communication Executive- 0732-307-274 adelina.e.nedelcu@gsk.com