Former Health Minister of Ukraine Ulana Suprun has criticized the current Ukrainian government for not prioritizing national health enough.
“[On April 21], it was one year since President Zelenskyy was elected, I read quite a number of reviews of his year in office and what he’s done... I was shocked to see that even though the last 3 months or 25% of President Zelenskyy’s time in office was associated with or was during the time of the pandemic – none of those reviews even mentioned the pandemic response or healthcare reform,” she told Hromadske International during the Q&A time at a web event organized by the Ukrainian Institute London.
“It’s something that is not in the priority for this government and not in the priority for this President until it was thrown at them because of the pandemic that’s happening,” she added.
Suprun who is known for starting Ukraine’s big healthcare reform, the second phase of which kicked off on April 1, said that the percentage of state budget spent on health is too low, especially compared to other countries like the United Kingdom or the United States.
“Only about 3.5% of the budget is allocated to healthcare. Look at your own budgets in your own countries… In the U.K., that’s 8-10%, in the U.S. it’s 17%, and in Ukraine it’s only 3.5%. So I think if we stopped the [medical] reform, it would be disastrous.”
However, Suprun saw some positivity in last week’s votings in the parliament where the ministry of health’s funding was increased by 13% and national health service’s funding was increased by 22%.
The former health minister expressed concern for Ukraine’s “revolving door policy” at the ministry of health, saying that it can severely harm other seriously ill patients in Ukraine that may lose access to medicine.
“Because we’ve had three ministers in the last 1.5 months, that procurement process [of medicines through international organizations] is at the standstill. Those routine things need to continue to happen, because a patient who needs to have medicine for their HIV needs to have those medicines even though there is a pandemic going on. We can’t stop functioning,” she said.
/By Maria Romanenko
For all the latest updates on the coronavirus in Ukraine, follow this link.