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2,397,863 registered Chernobyl-related health victims. 453,391 ARE CHILDREN

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/04/17/clinic-ukraine-chernobyl-30th-anniversary-health-impact/82892592/  THERE ARE 2,397,863 PEOPLE REGISTERED WITH UKRAINE’S HEALTH MINISTRY TO RECEIVE ONGOING CHERNOBYL-RELATED HEALTH TREATMENT. OF THESE, 453,391 ARE CHILDREN.  Kim Hjelmgaard , USA TODAY There are 2,397,863 people registered with Ukraine’s health ministry to receive ongoing Chernobyl-related health care. Of these, 453,391 are children — none born at the time of the accident. Their parents were children in 1986. These children have a range of illnesses: respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, eye diseases, blood diseases, cancer, congenital malformations, genetic abnormalities, trauma. 

KIEV, Ukraine — Daryna Bizilya, 10, wants to be a singer. During a visit with her and about a dozen other children at Ukraine’s largest medical clinic for people living with the consequences of Chernobyl, that’s what she did: She sang.

Bizilya walked directly into the middle of the room, signaled to her friend in the corner holding a cellphone to crank up its digital beatbox, and just went for it. She sang with feeling, dramatic facial expressions and large, sweeping arm gestures that occasionally ended with a clenched fist.

This clinic had an elaborate name, even by former Communist-bloc standards — the Institute of Specialized Radiation Protection of the Ukraine Population. It was full of sick children whose entire lives had only known illness.

The halls were long and dark and seemed, however improbably, to be lit chiefly by fading avocado-colored paint. The children’s bedrooms were neat but gloomy. Textbook orphanage-interior. Not every room was heated, and it was cold outside.

The number she performed was by Ukrainian artist Ani Lorak, a hero of Bizilya’s. On her website, Lorak describes herself as the “singer who became the idol of Ukrainians.”

Bizilya, whose favorite subjects are math and English, said she admired Lorak mostly because she “sings from her heart, and she feels her songs with her heart.”

Bizilya has a heart condition brought on by eating contaminated food, her doctors said. Too much physical exercise makes her condition worse.

“They told us at school that some children were left without a home, and that they were very ill,” she said when asked to explain what she knew about Chernobyl. “I would like to help those children who are without parents. There are children in our village like this,” she added.

Daryna does not think of herself as especially ill.

Artemchuk also has ambitions to be a singer.

“Probably a pop singer, like Michael Jackson,” he said.

He had some other things to say: Favorite food (meatballs), soccer team (Dynamo Kiev) and player (Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo).

“The doctor says I have very bad blood circulation,” he suddenly volunteered. “My parents say that Chernobyl was a big disaster and many people perished because of it.”

A girl named Alina Aponchuk, also 14, was too nervous to speak and fiddled with the sleeves of her dress. There was something on her mind. After a few minutes, she said she was going home the next day.

Aponchuk’s doctor said she had two left kidneys, both twice the normal size. She had chronic gastroduodenitis, which produces sharp stomach pains, lethargy and headaches. She also had “vegetative dysfunction,” a nervous system syndrome that causes anxiety, depression and other emotional stresses.

Vadim Bozhenko, the doctor who runs the clinic, said children stay at the institute from a few days to several weeks and all come from areas located on radioactive land.

“The (children) eat and drink contaminated milk products because cattle that live there eat that grass,” he said, adding that the clinic was underfunded by at least 30%.

Looking around the grounds that evoked a disheveled college campus, it was hard to believe the shortfall was that modest.

“Tell them we need beds and blankets,” Bozhenko said. “Tell them the Institute of Specialized Radiation Protection of the Ukraine Population needs this and a lot more.”

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May 5, 2017 - Posted by | children, PERSONAL STORIES, Ukraine

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