On June 19, residents of Pitkyaranta met with regional authorities to discuss the issue of the maternity department of the local hospital. The officials again tried to convince people that it would be better and more convenient for everyone to close the department — for both expectant mothers and doctors. The residents did not like these words, so they organized a rally and promised to initiate a referendum if officials continue to insist on closing the maternity department. Correspondent of «7x7» visited the event.
"This will be a preserved maternity hospital"
A meeting in the assembly hall of the Pitkyaranta administration was different from the previous one, which took place on June 5. This time, a lot less people came to meet with officials. Minister of Health of Karelia Marina Shvets, Minister of Education Alexander Morozov and Minister of Culture of the region Alexey Lesonen arrived to talk with the residents of the city. As on June 6, Igor Korsakov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Karelian Government, and Dmitry Troshin, head of the administration of the Pitkyaranta district, came to the meeting.
People opposed the closure of the maternity ward. The head doctor of the local hospital Galina Lazutkina said that the delivery room was repaired in a couple of weeks.
"Complete renovation of two wards for the stay of patients of the day and for the twenty-four-hour monitoring by gynecological specialists; the alleged maternity ward has also been repaired. The work was completely finished on Friday and was accepted. On Monday, I signed documents on the acceptance. This week we make decision concerning movement of equipment, bed, other equipment for the newborn. It will be a preserved maternity hospital, fully ready to take delivery," explained Lazutkina.
Officials, as last time, said that closing of the maternity ward would benefit everyone.
"First of all, we, like any woman, need gynecologists," said a resident of Pitkyaranta. "I talked to my gynecologist, I’ve been visiting her for 18 years. And she said that she would not work here."
"Why?" asked the minister.
"Ask her. Why did you create such conditions? This is the truth of life. You are the executive. You comply with the laws of the legislative assembly and federal laws. We have not asked any of the deputies of the republican and upper echelons of power to make any changes. Who asked you for this optimization?! You comply with the laws that you were given, but we did not ask for it! We want the hospital to have the same condition it had when I arrived 18 years ago."
People applauded. When the discussion was over, some residents of Pitkyaranta left the hall, while others continued talking with the Minister of Education Morozov about closing of the local technical school.
"Then what do we need the Ministry of Education for?"
"You want to close the technical school, but this is the only place in the city where our children, who do not want to go to the 10th grade because they are scared of the Unified State Examination, can continue their education and get a job," one of the present began.
"While I'm Minister of Education, the school will not be closed," the minister replied.
Morozov said that the school will be reoriented: new educational programs and retraining programs for enterprises will be launched. It is not clear yet, who and how will implement it: there is no money for this now. As the minister noted, current programs of the school are not popular among young people, so there will be no enrolment this year. Perhaps, it will resume next year. According to Morozov, residents of the city, local entrepreneurs and deputies will solve problems with "their" school better than the capital's ministry.
One of those present assured that next week she would be ready to bring a list of 50 schoolchildren who promised to go to the school this year. The minister assured that in that case he would sign a decree on enrolment to the first year.
"We need to open new specialties, offer retraining programs to local enterprises, then there will be money [for the work of school]," suggested one of the local deputies.
"So, you work with the enterprises, find out the demand, where the graduates will work. The school administration has this task, but it can not achieve it yet," the minister answered.
"So maybe, change the director of the school?" asked the audience.
"I agree. Suggest the candidate. You know better here," the minister suggested.
"Then what do we need you, the Ministry of Education, for, if we ourselves should solve all our problems?" local residents were perplexed.
His words outraged one of the women:
"It is easy to see that you have been working for a long time. You are an official to the brain... a fossilized official."
The participants were not happy with the result of the meeting, so the question of maintaining the training school was one of the main ones during the rally.
"Pitkyaranta is dying, and the authorities turn a blind eye"
The rally started in the pouring rain. About 200 residents of Pitkyaranta gathered under the roof on the porch of the local hyde park. Women and childreb held posters: "Pitkyaranta lived. Pitkyaranta lives. Pitkyaranta will live", "Pitkyaranta is dying, and the authorities turn a blind eye...", "Pitkyaranta is alive", "We were born in Pitkyaranta!".
The organizer of the rally Anna Boykova explained: if the maternity ward would be closed, the hospital would lose its district status. To save it, there should be five departments: maternity, surgical, therapy, children's department and infectious.
"We are told that they will take out of the maternity ward and it will be part of the surgical department. We will have four departments. This deprives our hospital of the district status, it allows them to close all these departments in the future, what Parfenchikov hints at. He says: "They do not deal with heart attacks here, you do not have it, the surgeon has no practice." And then they will close the surgical, the infectious one will turn into a medical and obstetric centre. This happens throughout the country," explained Anna Boykova.
The participants once again declared that they opposed to the closure of the maternity ward. Only this will help keep highly qualified doctors in the city.
Residents of Pitkyaranta collected more than 1700 signatures for the preservation of the maternity ward. And more than 700 — for the preservation of the college. If this does not help, then they are ready to initiate polls and referendum.
Gleb Yarovoy, Sergey Markelov, «7x7»