A third of the nation

Jul 07, 2020 at 11:07 •

Over three months of anti-coronavirus efforts, just ten charitable foundations provided nearly 30% of the amount that the Cabinet allocated to Minpromtorg [Ministry for Industry and Trade] to purchase medical and personal protective equipment (PPE) for physicians. In point of fact, however, there are many more non-profits that are helping hospitals and physicians, which means that the percentage of raised funds is higher. In many countries, the government involves the third sector in an attempt to avoid a collapse of the healthcare system and a social crisis. But not in Russia.

Among the first in this country to raise funds to assist physicians were the charities Pravmir [The Right World] and Sozidaniye [Creation]. On 27 March they started fundraising to purchase personal protective equipment for physicians and consumables for hospitals. On 10 April Rusfond [Russian Fund] launched a drive called «Protect Physicians», providing assistance to hospitals in 20+ states in Russia. 24 April was the launch date of the What to Do movement, which was joined by the Ne Naprasno! [Not for Nothing!] cancer prevention fund and the AdVita, Pravmir, Zhivoy [Alive], Predaniye [Legend], Lavka Radostey [Joy Shop] and Dobry Gorod Peterburg [The Good City of St Petersburg]. As of this writing, the What to Do project has raised 196,897,275 rbl. to help physicians (including 61,451,911 rbl. raised by the Pravmir foundation), Sozidaniye 77,991,221 rbl., and Rusfond 64,793,125 rbl.

The No 1 raiser of funds to purchase personal protective equipment for physicians, however, is the Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko.

“Gennady and Elena Timchenko donated 2.9 bln. rbls in charitable funds to the anti-coronavirus efforts. And specifically they spent 2.5 bln rbl. to purchase safety gear — safety suits, masks, gloves, shoe covers, antiseptics and equipment (MRI scanners and ventilators),” says Maria Morozova, the foundation’s CEO. “The Timchenko Foundation provided that assistance to hospitals, ambulance stations, health centres, rural health clinics, social services and non-profits”.

Maria Morozova adds that the Timchenko Foundation differs from the above-named foundations that helped medical treatment facilities.

— We are a classic family foundation and are funded mostly by donations from our founders. Our foundation is a donor that in the time of epidemics supports non-profits and public sector entities suffering from a shortage of safety gear or funding in providing urgent social assistance. These are not only medical treatment facilities but also hospices, assisted living residences and foundations that work with in-crisis families or homeless people.

Thus, the top-ten foundations alone raised 2,839,193,821 rbls for PPE purchases. FYI: this is nearly 30% of the 10 bln rbl. that the government allocated in April to Minpromtorg from its own reserve fund for the acquisition of medical devices, equipment and personal protective equipment for physicians. Yet the number of the foundations that help physicians is well over ten. According to the CAF foundation, one out of five non-profits in this country launched programmes to support people and medical organizations during the pandemic.

In many countries the government asks non-profits for help in times of crisis on its own initiative. For example, in Spain, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus, the National Red Cross Society and the local chapter of Doctors Without Borders made all their resources available to the national public health service. They are building temporary hospitals, procuring personal protective equipment, bringing in hands-on professionals who are on the front line against COVID-19. Other foundations, such as Aldeas Infantiles, Food Bank and Caritas, help children, buy food and drugs for the poor and homeless — this is reported by Compromiso Empresarial, a leading social innovation magazine in Spain.

In Russia, however, the authorities seem to ignore non-profits’ contribution to the anti-coronavirus efforts for some reason: physicians are afraid to ask for help too many times, and HealthMin reports as usual that there is currently no shortage of personal protective equipment. Yet nearly 3 bln worth of raised funds is evidence to the contrary.

Oksana Belly, Rusfond correspondent, story:

Source: Kommersant