“Medical Volunteers” association becomes public body
Medical Volunteers is an association of students from medical, pharmaceutical and specialist universities who undertake voluntary work within the health sector. It is a public movement that brings together 4,000 volunteers from more than 30 regions. To those taking part, its status as a public body will allow them to work more closely with Government authorities and medical institutions. The idea of Medical Volunteers to establish a public body has been welcomed by the Federation’s Ministry of Health.
The founders of the Medical Volunteers movement are the Council of Rectors of Russian medical and pharmaceutical universities, the Vice-Rectors Education Council of Russian Higher Education Authorities and the Association of Volunteer Centres (AVC). Its Chair is Pavel Savchuk and its Co-Chair is Christina Vaulina, an AVC Board member. The creation of this movement has also been supported by Russian Youth, the Russian Patriotic Centre and the Ministry of Health.
“Our project is the result of a public initiative driven by a group of people who turned up at the V.N. Sklifosovsky Scientific Research Institute of Emergency Care and pitched in to help the hospital staff. After the words of the Russian President that we needed to create a public association that could coordinate the work of volunteer physicians, we put all our efforts into making this happen”, said Savchuk.
Among the new body’s aims and objectives is to bring together volunteer associations and centres within medical training organisations and NGOs and to provide methodology and organisational support for volunteer projects, together with organising wide ranging assistance in medical institutions. Members of the organisation will also support young professionals, encourage young people to help resolve important social problems through voluntary work, exchange experiences, implement best practice, promote healthy lifestyles and develop qualities of kindness in future doctors. Leaders of volunteer movements from more than 40 national medical universities have been involved in the development of the new organisation’s modus operandi.
The founding conference took place at the “Territory of Meanings on the Klyazma” forum and was attended by Veronica Skvortsova, the Federation’s Health Minister. “I’m not exaggerating when I say that the creation of the Medical Volunteers movement is an important event for our country. We have lots of things for you to do, e.g. donations, care for the needy, developing sanitary and education programmes, organising vaccination campaigns and much more, but I’m convinced that, having graduated from this school, you’ll have acquired the skills needed to become excellent professionals and worthy people”, said Skvortsova.
Since 2013, regional headquarters of Medical Volunteers have opened in more than 30 regions, including Moscow, Krasnodar and Transbaikal districts, Voronezh and Tomsk oblasts, the Republics of Komi and North Ossetia, the Khanty-Mansi autonomous region, Ivanovsky and Vologda oblasts, the Republics of Karelia and Chuvash, Yaroslavl oblast and Krasnoyarsk district. 37 health care institutions and 30 hospitals are partners in this movement.
There are currently more than 4,000 active medical students in the movement. The association’s work covers four main areas: voluntary help in prevention and care institutions, sanitation and hygiene education, help in providing medical support at sporting and other large public events, and providing vocational advice for high school students in the field of medicine.
Volunteers will help younger and middle-ranking personnel in hospitals and medical institutions, as well as taking the lead on work for the prevention of serious social illnesses and lessening the reliance on the workforce in secondary and higher education organisations. For example, this would involve talking about measures that can prevent influenza, distributing information leaflets on healthy lifestyles (public surveys, benefits of morning exercise, flash mob activities on the internet, and helping doctors working in health centres).
Medical volunteers also help doctors during emergencies at large public events, as well as providing first aid treatment. Senior course students give vocational guidance lectures in medicine to high school students and lead guided hospital tours to immerse them as much as possible in what’s in store for them should they choose medicine as a future career.
Author: Yulia Vyatkina