60 euros will buy a thermometer that could save lives
There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic will have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. An economic depression seems almost inevitable, which by itself will have a negative impact on the quality of health care delivery.
In any society, whether it is rich or poor, persons with mental illness are disadvantaged. Usually they need support to remain part of society. They often live in social isolation in special housing programs, making use of programs that offered supported employment and visiting day centers in order to fight isolation, depression and suicidal thoughts. It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in an increase in mental health related problems. Initial data show that anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts are already increasing.
While we all are scared by what is happening to our lives, persons with mental health issues tend to react much more strongly and it is very possible that their mental illness will deteriorate. The feeling that things are out of control, together with the often existing social isolation, can lead to severe crises and relapses.
Of particular concern are those people living in closed institutions, e.g. social care homes, forensic psychiatric institutions and also in general psychiatric hospitals. In particular in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the former Soviet Union clients are still derived of their basic human rights, are often living in a closed environment with little knowledge of what is happening in the outside world. In addition, they live in close quarters, and are, in many cases, they are undernourished. There are too few staff and the staff that is there does not have enough time to spend with clients, even if they desire otherwise they are forced to do work by rote. That means that when a person in the institution gets infected, either a staff member or a client, hell will break lose. Staff members will want to stay away from clients as much as possible, more and more clients will get infected and within a short period of time a pandemic will develop within the institution itself.
Numbers vary, but in Ukraine there are 145 social care homes with some 41,000 clients, up to 700 living in one institution. In Russia some 150,000 persons reside in similar social care homes, and in the whole of the former USSR probably up to 350,000 persons are living in these institutions. Also in some of the other countries in Eastern Europe of the Balkans these large institutions continue to exist, and they face similar risks. By now in more and more institutions COVID-19 has entered and the management is struggling to avoid a pandfemic inside the facility.
FGIP is determined to help avert a catastrophe and wishes to raise funds for hand-held thermometers
A top priority must be the availability of hand-held thermometers. This will mean that temperatures can be taken for both clients and staff members. A key early stage of detecting COVID-19. There is an acute shortage of these thermometers. In some institutions, where there are hundreds of people living and a large number of staff, trying to provide care, only a few thermometers are available. This must change and we aim to provide institutions with a sufficient number of thermometers. They only cost 60 euro each. So far we have been able to finance 700 of these thermometers. We need 300 more to provide the institutions that we are working with with at least several and be able to avoid a catastrophe.