16:36 19.12.2020

The pandemic has touched the hearts of many people. Although there is still a lack of philanthropists in Ukraine – the head of the Charitable Foundation “Manus Dei” Andriy Dotsenko

9 min read

Ukrainian businessman Andriy Dotsenko has been helping orphanages in Kyiv region for many years, buying sweets, toys, food and clothes for children. He even financed the repair of one of these orphanages with his friends. Three years ago, his patronage grew into the Charitable Foundation “Manus Dei

Today it includes not only well-known national charitable foundations, including the Charitable organization “Mother’s Heart Foundation”, CF “Help Bank”, the Charitable Fund for helping children with cancer “Crab”, CF “TulSun”, but also about 40 companies that are engaged in business (“Heaco”, “EximMed”, “Zdravo”, “Radio FM” and others). They all donate part of their income to charity – to purchase vital equipment for Ukrainian hospitals. Geography of patronage – Vinnytsia, Kyiv, Poltava, Lutsk and many other cities and towns.

Among the friends of “Manus Dei” Foundation are Iryna Bilyk, Volodymyr Hryshko, Nadiya Meyher-Granovska, Olena Yushchenko, Igor Kononenko, Serhiy Nadal, Oleksiy Honcharenko and many other famous people.

Today CF “Manus Dei” sums up the results of its three-year work. December 18, 2017 can be considered the birthday of the foundation.

On the eve of the New Year and Christmas holidays, when everyone is waiting for a miracle, BK met with Andriy Dotsenko to discuss whether it is prestigious to be a philanthropist, how Ukrainian doctors react to charity and what volunteers and philanthropists are currently lacking.

- Have you always helped others?

This was my philosophy of life. You know that many people go to orphanages. For most of them, nothing bad had happened in their lives – they just decided for themselves that they want and can help children who don’t have parents.

I also went to one orphanage in Kyiv region, then to another. Once I visited an orphanage with medical status. All the children are sick there.

We talked to the chief doctor and decided to renovate this children’s institution. They also had broken trucks on which they went to buy food. I started to solve these problems.

- Obviously, it is difficult to do it at your own expense. Have you involved anyone else?

Currently, about 40 companies are members of our Charitable Foundation. There were several of us at that time. We all earn well. I am engaged in construction and agricultural business. I’m a partner and the owner in many businesses, so I could do charity work.

It is good that in Ukraine there is not only a successful business, but also a socially responsible one. Three years ago, you changed your format and officially became a charitable foundation.

Yes, we help hospitals. Not much money is allocated for this area. Only about 2.5-3% of the country’s budget is spent on health care, and it should be approximately 7-8%.

Are you giving an example of hospital financing in countries with successful economies?

We have all the calculations. I talked to scientists, experts, representatives of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

Unfortunately, few hospitals in Ukraine have all the necessary equipment. What device would you call the most important purchase in these three years?

In fact, all devices are vital. We receive many appeals, but first of all we react where the issue of life and death is very acute.

For example, there is a hospital in Khorol in Poltava region. All victims of road accidents on Kyiv–Kharkiv highway are brought there. The problem is that people had 8-9 fractures after the accident and they needed to be transported to the X-ray room in order to accurately identify the fractures. The hospital asked us to buy them a portable X-ray machine, which would allow a person to take an X-ray immediately in a hospital bed.

We bought such a modern device. They were very happy, because some patients had to be transported even by stairs.

How many hospitals have you helped in three years? Do you keep any records?

I personally do not keep records, but our team counted: 48 projects have been implemented during this time. We even made a film about our team for the 3rd anniversary of our Charitable Foundation, which we are celebrating these days. I don’t call this a holiday. It’s rather a summary of what has been done. We invited the Foundation’s partners to celebrate with us – these are the people who participated in the projects. These are deputies in whose constituencies projects have been implemented, hospitals and doctors who have received assistance, as well as people who want to receive co-financing from us next year.

How do you determine which hospital to help? Probably, many of them seek help because of the deplorable state of Ukrainian medicine? Do you respond to every appeal?

First comes the appeal. Then we contact the deputy who works in this constituency. The chief doctor may not know which budget items are prescribed for the next year. In addition to the local budget, each deputy also has his/her own budget for social and economic development. Sometimes the deputy or public organizations would like to do something themselves, so first we find out the situation. If no one is planning to buy anything for this hospital in the nearest future, then we are already dealing with this issue.

Is your charitable foundation a closed structure, where 40 partner companies you mentioned contribute funds, or are there open accounts to which every Ukrainian can send funds to charity? Did it happen to undertake fund-raising?

No, never. Just every month, each partner of the Charitable Foundation allocates the amount for charity. 

What do you think about the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to redistribute the money allocated for hospitals and the fight against Covid, for road repairs?

I think it’s bad and that the funds are distributed incorrectly. I even wrote a blog about this on “Ukrayinska Pravda”. Politicians work more for their electorate, because people will see these roads and will support politicians, but not everyone sees the equipment in hospitals. Not everyone understands how much new equipment costs and how difficult it was to buy. For example, there is a high demand for mechanical ventilation devices in the world. Chinese manufacturers sell them to those countries that are willing to pay more.

Has your foundation also purchased mechanical ventilation devices this year?

Yes, we purchased about 10 such devices, for example, for hospitals in Vasylkiv, Obukhiv.

Does the hospital have problems when a charitable foundation purchases devices for it? Perhaps there are some standards and requirements for such devices?

We buy licensed equipment from distribution companies. It’s all new Before purchasing the equipment, we talk to the person who will work on it. There are cases when a doctor does not know how to work with new equipment. Then our Foundation also pays for the courses for this doctor. We have contacts of these companies. They have engineers who conduct courses. There are even a few doctors who study abroad and then teach others.

Do you have applications from Ukrainian hospitals for 2021?

Yes, they mainly ask for diagnostic equipment: X-ray machines, blood analyzers. Almost all regions of Ukraine are in great need of this. Where there are no private laboratories, research is often conducted on glass under a microscope. This does not allow you to do many analyzes at the same time. A modern analyzer makes 120-200 analyzes. As soon as the hospital receives equipment from us, it can immediately declare to the National Medical Service its readiness to provide services to the public. This is how the hospital budget is supplemented, because they receive UAH 50 for each service provided to a person. For example, in Vinnytsia region 10 000 people used our ultrasound machine during the year.

At the beginning you said that it all started with helping orphanages. Are there children’s hospitals among those you provide charitable assistance? 

For example, there is Kyiv Children’s Hospital No. 1 on Bohatyrska Str. We opened a children’s unit there, and before that we had made 5 or 6 different purchases for them. This is an exclusively children’s hospital. We also deal with rehabilitation centers for children with cerebral palsy. We do reconstruction, buy equipment. 

Don’t you think it’s wrong when charitable foundations partially fulfill the function of the state? At the beginning you said that funds for hospitals are really not enough, but Ukraine is not ready for insurance medicine either. Successful countries also have charitable foundations. Do they buy equipment for hospitals?

The local charities work a little differently. They allocate more funds for the development of new drugs and new medical technologies. In addition, society is more open.

For example, in the United States parents teach their children to give their old things and books to those who need them. This is a massive practice for them. Unfortunately, these are still isolated cases in our country.

Even with the volunteer movement that emerged in Ukraine in 2014?

We still have few such people. There are also few people who can afford charity. The US still has a better standard of living; people can afford it. There are two sides of a coin. 

What was a rather challenging 2020 for your Foundation? Everyone is actually waiting for it to end as soon as possible. What are your plans for the next year?

I want to point out that the pandemic has touched the hearts of many people. I saw businessmen who had never been involved in charity before, but began to buy suits, masks, antiseptics for hospitals and even mechanical ventilation devices. I saw that at such difficult time people become kinder to each other. And if we talk about plans for the next year, we plan to continue working in the same direction. There is a lot of work ahead – many hospitals still need new equipment. We will help as much as opportunities and finances allow.

REFERENCE: The Foundation started working in December 2017 and has already completed a number of projects: provision of medical equipment, reconstruction of hospital premises. The Foundation also provides assistance to mothers who raise children without a father. We also help children with disabilities. 

The main goal of the Charitable Foundation “Manus Dei” (https://manusdei.com.ua/) is to do everything possible to ensure that any adult or child in Ukraine has the opportunity to receive decent medical care on time!