Military veterans who served in conflict-hit areas like Iraq or Afghanistan will soon be able to make use of a new facility being built in the Czech capital. The new centre is under construction in Svémyslice, Prague, and is expected to open in roughly one year’s time. The aim is to provide complete expert care for veterans who suffered serious or long-term injuries.
Regi Base I. will be a new private medical facility for military veterans who have and sacrificed in areas of the world like conflict-stricken Afghanistan. The centre will provide 16 beds for veterans and serve up to 35 clients per day and is the first of its kind in the Czech Republic. The idea was inspired by Jiří “Regi” Schams, an elite solider who suffered serious injury from a suicide attack in Helmand province in Afghanistan in 2008. Mr Schams was lucky to survive but today is confined to a wheelchair, has impaired motor skills including difficulty speaking and lost his short-term memory. Hynek Čech is a member of the foundation behind the medical facility:
“The fundamental idea is the creation of a unique complex that should combine rehabilitation and accommodation and 24 hour assistance for soldiers who have returned back from missions who don’t have the possibility of being taken care of by their families or friends. The priority is to provide 365 days of service a year for soldiers who could not be fully treated by the state or at home.”
In Mr Čech’s view, the state failed to fully anticipate the complexity of some injuries requiring long-term care, an oversight or gap that specialists and coordinators involved in Regi Base I. hope to bridge. So far, the project, has been welcomed by members of the Czech Republic’s elite forces, including those who served on the Afghan mission with Jiří Schams, Čech says. And even though the number of Czech military personnel seriously injured since 1990 remains relatively low at 60, there is no telling when someone else may be hurt by an IED or roadside attack.
“Currently we have around 500 soldiers deployed and we can never know when something tragic could happen and when special care will be needed.”
In terms of funding, Regi Base I. is being paid for solely by private and anonymous donors: the final bill is expected to exceed 100 million crowns (the equivalent of around six million US dollars), while the operational costs have been estimated at around 15 million annually. Treatment at the facility for veterans, it should be noted, will not be completely free-of-charge but will be heavily subsidized. The main thing, organisers say, is that as of next year new help will be available for personnel after initial treatment in state hospitals and facilities ends.
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