A story how amalgamation saved villages that are now part of the Polyanska AH in the Zakarpattia Oblast
By Dmytro Synyak
Like Yaremche, which has long become the “capital of the Ukrainian Carpathians”, Polyana attracts more and more tourists each year. However, people go here not so much for rest, but for treatment, attracted by the healing properties of local water.
In Polyana there are 5 bottling plants that extract water from 15 wells. The AH has more than 300 private entrepreneurs. Last year's budget of the Polyanska AH amounted to about UAH 60 million, and half of these funds are hromada’s own revenues.
This is the main wealth of the hromada consisting of 9 villages, that amalgamated in the autumn of 2016 and now has 7.6 thousand residents (the population number should soon somewhat increase, since the neighbouring village council of Solochyn is willing to join Polyana).
Landscapes of the villages of the Polyanska hromada
Polyana has a wonderful location: 85 km away from Uzhgorod, and 35 km – from Mukachevo.
Workers are always needed in the hromada, and one can earn the most on construction: up to UAH 25 thousand per month. Therefore, locals are not too rushing to earn a living abroad.
The Polyana village council has always been prosperous, unlike the nearby subsidised villages.
The village of Rodnykova Guta with population of about 600 residents is located in the mountains. A small but steep stream flows past the main street, which four years ago in spring suddenly turned into a large, stormy river.
Taras Matushak, head of the organisational department of the Polyana village council, and Ivan Knap, village council deputy
Destruction caused by water to the Rodnykova Guta village
Amalgamation proved to be uneasy because of the active opposition of Hennadii Moskal, former head of the Zakarpattia Oblast State Administration.
AH head Ivan Drohobetskyi eventually managed to defeat the head of the oblast state administration – and Polyanska AH appeared on the oblast map…
The Polyanska AH invested more than UAH 2 million in 3 km of the new road, including supporting walls, which strengthen the shores of the stream.
Disastrous consequence of flooding. Without hromada, it would be difficult to cope with it.
The Polyanska AH is a singing hromada. There is a folk group in almost every village. Rodnykova Guta has its “Gutnytski Vechirky” band. Rehearsals and concerts are held in a local club, repaired at hromada expense 2 years ago.
Taras Matushak and Anna Gartavel, head of the club in Rodnykova Guta
Ivan Drohobetskyi dreams of taking control over the local forests.
“I'm currently preparing a draft law that provides for the forests, and everything in the AH territory should belong to the hromada,” he says. “And it turns out that the forest is as if ours, but we cannot stop unlawful felling, since it belongs not to us, but to the state.”
Ivan Drohobetskyi shared his impression of cooperation with the Zakarpattia Oblast State Administration briefly:
“I have never hoped for the OSA’s help. It cannot help, but only interferes.”
The chief doctor of the rayon hospital meets Ivan Drohobetskyi. He immediately starts talking about low salaries of doctors, but the AH head interrupts him.
“It’s not a matter of salaries! Now family doctors have increased salaries, and earn from UAH 7 to 17 thousand per month, depending on the workload. But have they started to treat better? No! Maybe they smile more to patients, but they treat them as before...”
The chief doctor says something about the beds and the lack of nurses.
During a healthcare meeting
“We paid UAH 1.6 million to the rayon hospital last year,” Ivan Drohobetskyi continues. “But for this money, I could well have treated the hromada residents in a private clinic! And the attitude to them would be much better there, and then I would not have to compensate anything. I can also conclude an agreement with the Mukachevo hospital, I do not care where to treat people. But I do not want to lose the rayon hospital... Do something for your part, so as not to lose it. Remember my word: if you do not change your attitude to patients from our hromada, it will have poor consequences! I'll find where to treat people... Let's face it right: only low-income and disadvantaged people are treated in the rayon hospital. Those who have money, go to Mukachevo or Uzhgorod. Poor people are afraid of doctors and apply to them only when the situation is critical. Therefore, the doctor from the rayon should go to these people himself/herself. I also want this from a rayon hospital...”
The chief doctor nods with approval. The meeting is over. Ivan Drohobetskyi leaves without saying goodbye: Uzhgorod University is waiting for him, as the start-up competition takes place there. Ivan Drohobetskyi has to tell students about the pharmaceutical cluster that he plans to create in the Polyanska AH.
The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE
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