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8 Dec 2016

Contest of local initiatives held under BELMED project to cover all parts of Belarus in 2017

VITEBSK, 8 December (BelTA) – The second contest of local initiatives held under the project Preventing Non-Communicable Diseases, Promoting Healthy Lifestyle and Support to Modernization of the Health System in Belarus (BELMED) will cover all the previously uninvolved parts of Belarus in 2017, Head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus Andrea Wiktorin said during the meeting at the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee on 8 December.

One of the key targets of the BELMED project is to develop mechanisms for the promotion of a healthy lifestyle at the local level. The first contest for initiatives of public organizations, local communities and government agencies was held in Mogilev Oblast and Vitebsk Oblast in H2 2016. A total of 133 applications were submitted, and 84 of them were selected for evaluation. Five initiatives from Vitebsk Oblast and four projects from Mogilev Oblast have been named winners. They will receive grants to the tune of €166,800 and €173,700 respectively. “I would like to say that all the applications are interesting, innovative and ambitious. The main thing is that they will be implemented in partnership with government agencies and public associations. The contest has not ended. Next year, we will hold another contest for the remaining regions of Belarus to cover all the parts of the country. A total of €800,000 will be granted,” Andrea Wiktorin noted.

She added that the promotion of a healthy lifestyle at the local level is just one component of the project. Other aspects are currently under development. They include an extensive campaign against major risk factors for non-communicable diseases (smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy nutrition, low physical activity), pilot programs of breast cancer screening, strengthening the system of medical care for mothers and children, and much more. The total budget of the project is €4.1 million. “Although grant assistance is only a small fraction of this amount, I want to point out the importance of the involvement of local communities. Thanks to the grants, their initiatives will be implemented. Therefore, our project is becoming countrywide,” Andrea Wiktorin said.

The Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee hosted a ceremony to honor the winners of the first contest of local initiatives on 8 December. The winners received special certificates of the UNDP and the European Union. The Vitebsk regional office of the Belarusian Red Cross Society, together with its partners, presented a long-term initiative to prevent child injuries, which also involves comprehensive work with minors, their parents and professionals with the assistance of volunteers from the target group. The initiative of the education, sport and tourism department of the Gorodok District Executive Committee envisages the construction of a sports center at the school and a recreation camp (Nordic walking trails, rope town, sports grounds, playgrounds for teaching safety principles and traffic rules). The center for assistance to territorial development and legal awareness Perspektiva initiated the construction of a site for workout in Begoml, and development of a mobile application with a set of treadmill exercises. The project of the Polotsk center of local initiatives is aimed at expanding the existing sports and tourism infrastructure to host events such as the festival of healthy lifestyle. The Senno district organization of the Belarusian Women's Union will purchase 18 electric bikes for all midwifery units in Senno District so that the residents of remote villages could promptly get necessary medical care.

The project Preventing Non-Communicable Diseases, Promoting Healthy Lifestyle and Support to Modernization of the Health System in Belarus (BELMED) is funded by the European Union and is implemented by the UNDP, WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA in collaboration with the Healthcare Ministry of Belarus.

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