Ukraine: The Government has “written off” more than 100 thousand terminally ill patients
Near the walls of the Government’s building they arranged an improvised pile of cards with names of people who are left without medication because of the Cabinet of Ministers indifference. In this way activists wanted to demonstrate that instead of providing treatment for patients, they are just “written off” to die. Adults and children with difficult diagnosis lined up in a row, each end every one holding a sign with his name and written message “written off”.
It should be noted that, according to the requirements of the Verkhovna Rada Committies on Public Health and Budget, the Government should have reallocated the additional funds amounting to almost UAH 4 billion and submitted the appropriate changes for approval to the Parliament by March 1. Nevertheless it has not been done.
“We were waiting until the March 1, hoping that officials would take into consideration the needs of severely ill Ukrainians, many of whom already are left without medication. Thousands of patients are written off by the Cabinet of Ministers just because officials do not want to seek funds for their lives, as it is required by the Parliament”, – says Olga Stefanyshyna, the Executive Director of the CF “Patients of Ukraine”. – While in the USA the year of fight against cancer is announced and everything is being done to save patients, in Ukraine cancer patients are simply “written off”. We do not understand how it is possible to allocate UAH half-a-billion to provide personal security for high-ranking officials, and not to find the money to treat people with fatal diseases”, – she adds.
By March 1, the Cabinet of Ministers, having considered the proposals of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Budget, should have allocated in the Budget-2016 funds in the amount of UAH 8.1 billion for treatment of seriously ill Ukrainians with such diseases as HIV, tuberculosis, oncology, viral hepatitis, hemophilia and others. As of today only half of the needed sum of money is allocated, namely UAH 4.1 bilion, which condemns half of severely ill Ukrainians to death.
“We can stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ukraine, if we provide the antiretroviral therapy to all in need – which is 134 thousand patients. Although the Ministry of Health took on appropriate obligations, the Government left only UAH 350 million on HIV treatment. Because of inflation this sum of money is enough to treat only 30% of patients! The others are condemned to die, waiting until the Government will allocate more funds for the procurement of vital medicines which are not available in retail,” – claims Dmytro Sherembey, the Head of the Coordination Council of the Network of PLWH.
The most critically underfunded are treatment programs for tuberculosis (37% of the need), hepatitis (9% of the need), pediatric oncology (66% of the need), pediatric (60% of the need) and adult hemophilia (27% of the need).
“In Ukraine there are more than 2500 people with hemophilia. Because there are few of us, it is easier for the Government to leave us bleeding to death, than allocate money for our treatment”, – notes Taras Bebeshko, hemophilia patient. – As soon as the Government undertook the commitment of providing us with medication, it should stick to it. Otherwise the Cabinet of Ministers should be criminally responsible for the fact that part of us will be crippled, and the rest – will die”, – he adds.
In the most critical situation found themselves adult patients suffering from cystic fibrosis – they are not included into the budget request at all and these people are condemned to die without treatment.
It should be noted that 94% of medicines that Ukraine procures through public tenders – are foreign-made and all the procurements are made in foreign currency. Because of the devaluation of hryvnia it is vital to increase the budget expenditures of the MOH and provide patients with necessary medicines.
The budget for 2016 in its present form will be the cause of death and disability for tens of thousands of people. If politicians do not introduce changes into the budget, they will actually with their own hands doom severely ill Ukrainian to death due to lack of medication.
In Ukraine 1600 people die every day because the lack of medicine.
Contact person: Aliona Romaniuk, +380 50 335 5301, +380 93 721 0800.