Ukrainians fork out huge amounts on “free medical care”


Ukrainians die 10 years earlier than most Europeans and spend phenomenal amounts on the supposedly free medical care. There are not enough doctors and State reforms of the medical sector are worsening, not improving the situation. These and other points are discussed in the just released report Human Rights in the Medical Sphere.

Life expectancy in Ukraine is 68.2 years, on average 10 years lower than in EU countries. Child mortality is 2.5 times higher than in EU countries aside from those which joined more recently. The rate of premature death is three times higher than in EU countries, and from tuberculosis – 20 times higher.

The results so far of the government’s stated aim of reforming the healthcare system are not cheering. The report’s authors consider the global plans of the reformers to be least of all focused on the patient and on ensuring that medical assistance is high-quality, comfortable and accessible for the average person. They cite the Vinnytsa region as an example: the reforms there resulted in the region being without an allergy specialist, dermatologist and immunologist.

The report writes of flagrant violations of the right to healthcare of people living with HIV.  25% of those questioned said that their HIV status had been the reason or a contributing factor in their being restricted in at least one social or medical service. 20% spoke of refusals to provide medical services.

This is the first time that the right to healthcare of people without a fixed address has been studied. The authors found that the homeless who did not have money were unable to receive any health services.  There are reintegration centres, refuges and other specialized institutions however these cater only for 3% of the general need.

The authors hope that publication of their report will lead to more active discussion of reform of the healthcare system.  The report was prepared with the financial support of the International Renaissance Foundation.


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