In 2017, a Politico article titled “In Ukraine, health care is free (except when it’s not),” lamented the state of Ukraine’s “underfunded, corrupt, and inaccessible” health care system. Since then, reforms attempting to address these limitations have empowered private doctors to compete with state clinics for public funding, enhancing quality of care and patient choice.
In 2020, as the importance of health care reached a new pinnacle, HOPE Ukraine received a loan application from Olga Hoi, a young doctor who had founded her own clinic after years of service as a pediatrician in a Ukrainian state hospital.
Olga knows both the challenges and the promise of Ukraine’s health system, and—motivated to share the love of God with her fellow Ukrainians—she’s committed to providing high-quality care for her patients.
A dream in need of investment
At the time when Olga launched Baby Clinic, many parents in the western Ukrainian town of Drohobych and nearby villages took their children over an hour away to receive their routine immunizations from private clinics. Although vaccines were provided free of charge at state-run clinics closer to home, many children had allergic reactions to contaminants in the low-quality vaccines.
When Baby Clinic opened in 2019, it quickly gained a reputation for excellence. But to make the clinic’s services more broadly accessible and affordable, Olga had to purchase specific, state-mandated equipment to become a government-approved provider.
She researched many loan providers who might help her. Some charged interest rates as high as 60% APR. Others offered only variable interest rates and demanded her apartment as collateral. Olga felt stressed and discouraged. She believed in the importance of providing high-quality care to underserved populations, but unless she found the funds to join the national health system, her services weren’t accessible to lower-income populations.
HOPE Ukraine believed in her vision—and the strength of her motivation as a follower of Christ wanting to employ her God-given skills to help her community—and wanted to invest in Olga. In October 2020, she received a $10,600 small-and-medium-enterprise loan from HOPE Ukraine.
“It is hard to overestimate her contribution to the health of children in the small town of Drohobych and nearby villages. She provides quality examination on the level of regional medical centers, conducts vaccinations with the best vaccines, and travels to nearby villages to diagnose children with heart diseases,” shares Nataliya Pylypenko, a HOPE Ukraine staff member.
Olga’s clinic became even more significant to her community during the pandemic. Baby Clinic staggered appointments to minimize contact between patients and also launched online consultations for those unable or unwilling to come into the clinic.
In the future, Olga hopes to purchase a vehicle outfitted as a mobile heart clinic, empowering her to continue extending vital services to remote and unreached Ukrainian villages where she’ll share not only her medical expertise but also God’s love with all she encounters.
The World Bank describes small and medium enterprises like Olga’s as “the economic backbone of virtually every economy in the world.” Yet in many countries they also represent a “missing middle” vastly underserved by financial institutions. Read how SME loans through HOPE’s partner Invest Credit are creating jobs in Moldova.