07/27/2022, 12.17
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St Petersburg: mobile clinic helps poor and migrants

by Vladimir Rozanskij

The creator of the charity facility is Dr Ievkov. Support for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. The Orthodox youth association 'Kinonia' contributes to the initiative. Migrants also assisted in sorting out documents, finding a place in hostels and returning home to Ukraine, Belarus or Kazakhstan.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - There is a charity facility in St Petersburg that has been active for a few years now, set up by the young 30 year old doctor Sergei Ievkov (see photo). Early on in his work at teh hospital he realised that he was not interested in a career, seeing how inaccessible public care was for so many people.

A small group of like-minded people formed around Ievkov and gave life to the mobile clinic: the doctors are now looking for a stable and better resourced location.

At the moment, the clinic, which treats one patient at a time, is treating a 40-year-old Ukrainian woman who arrived in St Petersburg without papers. Svetlana is ill with Aids and cancer, which only manifested itself once she arrived in Russia a month ago, fleeing a small village in the separatist republic of Donetsk. Attempts are being made to admit her to some hospital, as Ievkov tells Sever.Realii, and there are good hopes of being able to cope with her emergency, also thanks to the cooperation of colleagues from another association, 'Humanitarian Action'.

Patients of the mobile clinic are offered express tests for socially significant infections, Covid-19 and flu vaccines, and even ophthalmic services. Ievkov studied for eight months at a Moscow school of professional philanthropy, officially becoming an executive of a non-commercial organisation and following many projects, on an individual and group level.

The Russian Constitution, partly heir to the Soviet past, guarantees healthcare for all citizens, but the reality is quite different. Ievkov was prompted by the needs of labour migrants, even before the pandemic and the war, especially to care for children, to prevent diseases that could jeopardise their entire existence.

As the doctor recounts, 'I had to inform myself about the rights of the weakest, and learn how to be a street doctor. Our project is also maintained thanks to the partnership of the Orthodox Youth Association 'Kinonia', which has organised several units of the mobile clinic, using 'Gazel' vans adapted to the health needs. "Our patients feel safe, together with people who understand them, even if all we do is arrange the normal services of a small medical practice".

Ievkov's account is corroborated by Vitalij Kurdeko, a lay collaborator of the parishes of the churches of the Annunciation and the Nativity of Christ on the Piskarevo prospect, a large central street in St. Petersburg. Kurdeko is in charge of the church's social and charitable initiatives, has been working with Kinonia since 2015, and explains that through his involvement with these activities he has understood what Scripture states, that 'faith without works is dead'.

Kurdeko explains that 'before I became an active believer I was like everyone else, judging people and looking down on homeless vagrants, then I realised that they are the lepers of the 21st century, whom society has turned its back on'. With the young people of the parish they also organised a canteen on Tukhacevskaya prospect, which is very popular especially on Sundays.

The young people help migrants sort out their documents, find places in hostels and return home to Ukraine, Belarus or Kazakhstan, liaising with the relevant consulates. Until 24 February, the relationship with the Ukrainian embassy was excellent, the diplomats themselves sent the poor and sick in need of assistance. Today, even charity is being held back by the war, and yet it continues.

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