Ukraine's Health Minister Dismissed After 26 Days
30 March, 2020
Ilya Yemets The Ministry of Health of Ukraine

271 Ukrainian MPs have voted for the dismissal of Ukrainian Health Minister Ilya Yemets. He held the position just for 26 days.

The dismissal was initiated by Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. According to a comment from Servant of the People MP Yevheniya Kravchuk, Shmyhal does not see cooperation with Yemets as "constructive."

Commenting on his dismissal, Yemets said that he didn't write a letter of resignation. He blamed Ukraine's former acting health minister Ulana Suprun for this decision saying that his team's work was not liked by her.

"It wasn’t to the liking of our chief opponent – acting minister [Ulana] Suprun, who for three years has continued to kill the in-patient quality of help. And I think, as a specialist, that providing help to average people, on an in-patient level, will be impossible," Yemets told hromadske. 

Yemets, who was appointed to his seat on March 4,  is a renowned physician with a wealth of honors and achievements. He heads the Center for Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery. 

The former health minister was the first doctor to carry out operations on newborns with complex heart defects in independent Ukraine. He has 16 patented products and techniques, and has received several awards.

In 2010, he was the recipient of the Pride of the Country Award 2009 (a competition funded by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation) in the nomination “Sensation of the Year” for his invention — to use cord blood instead of donor blood for surgery on a baby's heart. The award was then presented to him by Mykola Azarov — the fugitive ex-prime minister. 

Six months later, after Yanukovych paid him a visit at his clinic, Yemets would assume the position of Minister of Health, but only for five months (from December 21, 2010 to May 17, 2011). The surgeon was criticized for working in Azarov’s government, but rotations in the health ministry were common at the time.

Yemets left the post with a scandal. His colleagues, fellow ministers, hinted that he had conflicts with Azarov, who publicly reprimanded him, as well inside the ministry. Yemets later explained that he took the high road. And the fact that he wrote a resignation letter helped him avoid “lustration”. Then he took a leave of absence as a minister and went to training abroad. When he returned, he resigned, explaining only that some of his steps did not appeal to senior management.

READ MORE: The Medical Purchasing Scandal That Preceded Dismissal of Ukraine's Health Minister, Explained

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