On Thursday, 26th November, in the presence of President Raimonds Vējonis, his wife Iveta Vējone and Health Minister Guntis Belēvičs, a new Ziedot.lv children’s rehabilitation centre was opened at Indrānu iela 13, Rīga. The new centre, “Poga”, will provide high-quality rehabilitation services using the latest technologies to meet the needs of children recovering from serious illnesses. Available technologies include the first implementation in Northern Europe of the G-EO System, a robotic-assisted device in gait rehabilitation.
Since Ziedot.lv’s founding in 2003, ten million euros have been donated in Latvia by individuals and companies for investment in children’s healthcare. Of that money, 4.3 million euros have been allocated for spending on health and rehabilitation services abroad. A high proportion of those resources could have stayed in Latvia if only similar, high-quality services had been available.
The Poga Rehabilitation Centre is the latest charitable initiative by Ziedot.lv. The new centre will receive its first patients in 2016, ensuring that children with motor disabilities or neurological problems can receive services that are not available anywhere else in Latvia. Previously, these children would have had to seek treatment abroad. “Every child is important to Latvia and we, together as a society, can give a helping hand to children that are seriously ill”, said Rūta Dimanta, the leader of Ziedot.lv. “Our joint aim is for Poga to become a present to Latvia’s children for Latvia’s centenary”.
President Raimonds Vējonis expressed his satisfaction that a contemporary and innovative children’s rehabilitation centre has been developed and is ready to accept the young patients: “This will be a place where small children from across Latvia will be sure of receiving the very best rehabilitation treatments, saving their parents from the worry of arranging care outside of our borders. That will also provide the opportunity for parents to remain alongside their children and concentrate fully on helping their children to recover more quickly.” He also appreciated the idea that this centre is a present to our children for Latvia’s centenary, as our country’s future will be in their hands. For that reason, children’s holistic development, healthcare, and rehabilitation are highly important.
The Poga Centre will offer a physiotherapy method from the United States that will be the first of its kind in Northern Europe; this method combines “TheraSuit”; the G-EO System robotic-assisted device from Switzerland with Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). As a result, the rehabilitation process will become cheaper, more convenient, and more available for the majority of Poga’s child patients. This, together with the prompt commencement of rehabilitation, will reduce the need for expensive medical interventions later on.
Alongside these unique physiotherapy services, the centre will provide consultants in ergotherapy, osteopathy and neurology, as well as physiotherapists offering Bobath therapy and sling therapy. All patients will have access to Snoezelen multi-sensory environments.
The President’s wife, Iveta Vējone, has become a patroness for the world’s most modern robotic-assisted device in gait rehabilitation, the G-EO System. Latvia’s Poga Centre will be the only place where this unique piece of equipment is available. It is anticipated that the device will help at least 140 patients in the centre’s first year.
Health Minister Dr. Guntis Belēvičs said: “I value the Ziedot.lv initiative to help children recovering from severe health conditions. It is to be celebrated that one of the most modern rehabilitation centres has been developed here in Latvia and that the most modern robotic gait rehabilitation devices will be made available”. To ensure that the first 60 children can undergo the full rehabilitation course, 144,000 euros are required. If you would like to take part in this charitable initiative, you can donate through the www.ziedot.lv portal, using Swedbank online services, or by phoning the charity helpline 90067007 (each call costs 1.42 euros).
The Poga Rehabilitation Centre is a non-profit fund and state partner, established to introduce innovative rehabilitation methods. Following the example of other Western charities, Ziedot.lv instituted a reserve fund in 2007 to collect donations for this specific objective, also involving a number of local and international funds. This money has been used to purchase the building, conveniently located for public transport with the objective of facilitating access for people with disabilities. The first partner for the Poga Rehabilitation Centre is Ziedot.lv’s long-term partner, Swedbank. “From the very beginning, the Ziedot.lv fund has unrelentingly followed its central aim of helping others and has helped to develop a culture of charitable giving in Latvia. We are satisfied that we have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Ziedot.lv team and Rūta for more than 10 years; much has been done and much has been achieved in this time. Good deeds speak for themselves: Poga is a new step in the development of charitable infrastructure and an important systemic solution. This kind of initiative is important to us, so we will help Ziedot.lv to take this step by both involving our staff in charitable activities and by telling our clients about Poga in the hope that they too will be inspired by this objective,” said Swedbank board member Reinis Rubenis. The dream of the centre’s developers is to create the largest and most effective rehabilitation centre in the Baltics: one which is able to deliver the full spectrum of rehabilitation services that are available including the latest treatments with robotics and water therapies. Every Latvian child is important and severely ill children deserve to be treated with the very best. Together, we can give that gift to Latvia and her children!