The second trip under the World Abaza Congress “Medical examination of schoolchildren” in 2024 became the largest action of the project.

Alisa Khutaba

The congress team and the team of Abkhazian doctors made every effort to carry out a full-scale medical examination of the students of the Ochamchira Boarding School named after S. Basaria. Traditionally, a two-stage medical examination consists of a day of blood sampling and a day of examination of children. This time, it was three days of examination, since the number of students exceeds the usual figures of 100-150 people. 450 schoolchildren and their teachers took advantage of the unique opportunity to undergo a full examination by qualified specialists, ask questions and get answers on all relevant issues about their physical and psychological health.

Various specialists from the Ministry of Health joined their efforts - ophthalmologists, cardiologists, ENT doctors, endocrinologists, pediatricians, neurologists, urologists, an ultrasound diagnostic doctor and rehabilitation specialists.

One of the project organizers, OSAZ department specialist Naur Khishba, told about the progress of the medical examination:

“Within three days, a wide range of specialists visited the school. In total, about 35 doctors and nurses, more than 350 children and about 100 teachers took part in the medical examination. Doctors are busy people, it’s hard to distract them from work for three days. Despite this, we are grateful that they all supported this project. They often replaced each other, and there were those who were working for all three days, not without fatigue, but full of enthusiasm. In general, an event of this magnitude would not have been possible without all the doctors who supported us, without the laboratory, which worked at full speed throughout the week, testing about four hundred people, without the Ministry of Health, in particular, Saida Butba, Esma Gunia, as well as Minister Butba Eduard Valeryanovich himself. We also thank the head of the district, Bigvava Beslan Vladimirovich, and Pertskheliia, Beslan Dmitrievich, for organizing the travel and accommodation in Ochamchira,” noted Khishba.

More than 450 children study at the boarding school. 130 of them stay at the school from Monday to Friday. There are also children from socially disadvantaged sections of the population. According to the head of the boarding school, Bella Ashuba, children do not always have the opportunity to be examined on time.

“The school has a medical centre, three nurses and a doctor. Many boarding school children are not often able to go out for examinations; unless they get sick, there is no way to check them periodically. There are difficult families where it’s hard for them, where there are 3-4-5-8 children. They won't all be checked. There are families where children are raised with grandparents, only with fathers, and they do not have mothers. Of course, the mother must know what the child lacks, how often he gets sick. It’s hard for grandmothers to do this kind of work. I would like to thank the Abaza Congress, all representatives and leaders of this organization. There are no words to describe the good things they did. Almost all children have been examined today. It was surprising how happy were children to see the doctors. They were not afraid to donate blood for tests. All the doctors are so nice and friendly. They examined not only the children, but also the teachers. Many thanks to all the doctors who examined our children. Be healthy, our dear doctors. I don’t even know when the last medical examination was carried out at the school,” said the head of the school.

This is not the first time that the chief pediatrician of the Ochamchira district, Alisa Golandziia, has participated in medical examinations under the WAC project. Knowing well the state of affairs and the situation of many families, she notes the importance of holding such events:

“After the examination, we make recommendations for treatment by appropriate specialists. A medical examination at the boarding school has not been carried out for a long time and not everyone can have their child examined by all the specialists, but here it turns out that the specialists came to them, there are a lot of them and this is a great chance,” she said.
Each student received a medical card with a note about visiting various specialists and, if necessary, with a detailed prescription from a doctor.

Summing up the results of the three-day medical examination, head of the department, organizer of the project Izolda Khagba noted:

“Unfortunately, the percentage of detected diseases here is much higher, but this is also due to the number of children. Many endocrinological diseases have been discovered - nodular goiters in girls at an early age; urologists discovered several cases of urolithiasis, phimosis, congenital anomalies, several people were found to have one kidney; on the ophthalmology side, as elsewhere, there are many cases of mandatory response, as well as several identified cases of heart disease. Most of these diagnoses have not been diagnosed before, we hope that this will help families and people will continue treatment. Considering that there are families with difficult life situations, there were cases when we were able to provide some children with the necessary medications here,” said Izolda Khagba.

She also thanked everyone involved in the implementation of this large-scale project, and told how carefully and attentively everyone responded to their mission:

“A special thank you to every doctor and every nurse who participated in both blood sampling and working with doctors. Everyone who visited the medical examination during these three days paid a lot of attention to the children, scrupulously approached the examination, and shared their warmth and care. The health of children is the health of the nation. I would like to thank our main partner – the Ministry of Health of our republic, which supports and provides us with doctors and the best specialists. Special words of gratitude to the management and all the staff of the boarding school for their patience, for their kindness, for their reverent and attentive attitude to the matter, as well as to all colleagues from the WAC for their complete dedication. All together we did a great good deed,” Khagba added.

The World Abaza Congress launched the project in March 2023. The medical examination is aimed at providing qualified medical care to students and teachers of rural schools in Abkhazia.