Report from Dr. Vasyl Pasechnik
after the Closing of the
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
On April 26 the world will mark the 15th anniversary of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
On Friday December 15, 2000 the plant was finally shut down for good. It started with a spewing of radioactive fallout that was 400 times higher than what occurred at Hiroshima. Because of time, distance and language barriers the memory of Chernobyl is fading.
I received this FAX from Dr. Vasyl Pasechnik this morning, January 17, 2001
January 16, 2001
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power station is closed, but the serious problems concerning the health of the population from the effects of radiation will continue for decades.
Dr. Vasyl Pasechnik
Illnesses of our children are increasing. The work of our Centre is a witnesses to this. When our Center began almost five years ago, we rehabilitated 412 children. In 2000 we treated 892. These are children whose basic infirmities stem from the psycho neurological sphere. And, what is alarming is that the number of such children in the Chernihev province increases every year.
Now stands the question about further expanding the Centre. Soon will be decided the question about the handing over of another building and other support facilities.
Overall our Center has been constantly developing. You know that we started with one small building, after a year expanded into another. Then we opened a dental office. In 2000 we opened an internal courtyard for mothers and children and also fulfilled the biggest part of getting the sports and games shelter (through your financial support). Also, now we are in the process of taking possession of another building and we hope that you can help us with that.
Right now at the Centre we have 39 people working, 24 who are full-time, 15 part-time. Most of the part-time work 1/2 time. The pay is very low, the lowest is for the guards, 118 grivnas a month ($20). The pay goes up to 300 grivnas ($50) for doctors. Not looking at the low pay, these workers do a fine job and value their jobs because unemployment is high. We therefore have highly qualified and specialized staff. The Centre has a good reputation among the population.
We are not a government institution (and this is good), but we are licensed by the Ministry of Health and abide by their regulations.
In 2001 the government is planning to increase pay by 25% and we want to do the same for our workers, but all this does is covers the loss due to inflation for last year...inflation last year was 25.6%.
The course of rehabilitation for one child costs 395 grivnas which has not changed from the very start of the Centre in spite of the grivna being devalued three times. You can see for yourself what our economic state is. This year we are increasing the cost per child to 430 grivnas that is a little more than $80 a month.
We are very thankful to you, members of your organization who work with you.
Dr. Vasil Pasechnik
January 17, 2001