Ukraine's health minister elaborates on healthcare reform in Ukraine

13:20, 05 May 2020
Ukraine
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Photo from UNIAN

"Regarding the development and reform of the healthcare sector. Yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky highlighted this particular sector during his video address. The president instructed the government and the Health Ministry to solve the problems of Ukraine's healthcare reform – this is really a hot topic, and we have a common vision with the president: Ukraine's healthcare needs a real reform, which should work both for healthcare workers and for patients, which will provide Ukrainian doctors with a decent salary, which will provide Ukrainian hospitals with modern equipment, and which will provide patients with decent services," he said during an online briefing on Tuesday, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

The official says the process that started on April 1 is difficult to be called a "real reform."

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According to the minister, it "doesn't foresee anything good either for doctors or patients. Moreover, no one of those who advocate for these processes is eventually aware of the disastrous consequences that Ukrainians will face. I've got a reason to tell you this, based on the figures and facts we've obtained from the audit of the healthcare sector."

Stepanov said "the healthcare reform in the form we've inherited means the dismissal of about 50,000 healthcare workers, the closure of 332 hospitals – all this is due to lack of funding. If the situation isn't fixed, one or two video messages about the dismissal of doctors and healthcare workers' strikes will turn into mass events on a daily basis. We will not allow this injustice."

According to him, the financing gap is observed in 984 hospitals out of 1,747, which have concluded agreements with the National Health Service of Ukraine.

"That is, more than half of our hospitals will get less funding in 2020 than in 2019. If nothing changes, millions of Ukrainians will be denied access to normal medical care, and diseases such as tuberculosis will begin to spread rapidly," he said.

Stepanov said the Health Ministry's team was working to immediately change the situation to prevent mass lay-offs of doctors and the closure of hospitals.

"This does not mean that we are going to curtail the reform, on the contrary – it must be implemented, but substantially changed, taking into account Ukrainian realities and fixing mistakes made during planning," he added.

As UNIAN reported earlier, speaking in his latest video address to the nation on May 4, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky assessed the progress of healthcare reform. In particular, he urged the health minister, chairman of the relevant committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and chief sanitary doctor of Ukraine to urgently put forward proposals to resolve the issues arising from the new funding mechanism as part of the second stage of the healthcare reform.

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