Vera Madzgalj, Chief Executive Officer at BELhospice:

Doing Something Meaningful Feels Special

A year has passed since I received the great opportunity to lead the BELhospice team. Its been a special call and a great challenge, both in implementing services that improve the lives of cancer patients and their families and in establishing the first hospice in Serbia

During the course of the last year, the BELhospice multidisciplinary team has managed to care for more than 800 end of life cancer patients and helped their family members in need to overcome difficult situations of not being able to properly care for their loved ones and ensure they can face the end of life with dignity.  

We succeeded in licensing our home care service and preparing for the renovation of the Hospice Day Centre, which will start at the beginning of June 2018. The funds for the implementation of these activities were secured through solidarity among special people – those who recognise the need of our beneficiaries and are willing to participate in making changes. In this process, BELhospice received great support from the Honorary Patrons Committee, chaired by his excellency Belgian Ambassador Leo D’Aes, more than 150 volunteers, local governments, the corporate sector, prominent individuals who supported our fundraising events like the Marathon, Charity Ball and other sporting events, as well as grants enabled by the European Union, the Norwegian Embassy and our partner Hospices of Hope England.

As we aim to create a hospice centre with an inpatient unit, I think that the message has started to reach a wide audience. The authorities have now recognised the need for a holistic approach to hospice care and we will advocate that we work together with them to help us put this in place. In addition, our staff and partners are now really engaged in this cause and are so excited about the benefits the new hospice centre will bring to those under our care.

We succeeded in licensing our home care service and preparing for the renovation of the Hospice Day Centre, which will start at the beginning of June 2018

We strive to create a partnership with our government institutions and enhance the quality of services, which will ultimately lead to enabling better implementation of human rights and enhancing our prospects of becoming a better society.

I believe that hospice care will expand markedly. We already have NGOs and agencies contacting us from around the country, wanting to learn from us. At BELhospice we want to launch a hospice care service for patients with other life-limiting illnesses, not just cancer, and to do so in several cities in Serbia.

Qualifications in strategic management and project management, as well as more than 15 years of experience in leading development projects financed by the EU, UNICEF and UNOPS Serbia, and working on a range of small-scale to high policy level projects, while working  for international organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross,  CHF International and the Norwegian Peoples Aid, will all help on the implementation of this project.

A special contribution is provided by the people who support us – our Honorary Patron Committee members, individual volunteers and corporate sector representatives who enforce solidarity. These are the people who support the BELhopsice mission of achieving the goals it has set for itself.

And we will achieve those goals, as we believe in them!