Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
Social and economic rights

Open letter to the Minister of Health


To the Minister of Health

M. Polishchuk

Respected Minister Polishchuk!

We are writing to you on behalf of human rights organizations who very frequently deal with violations of patients’ rights.  We can say openly that the current situation in this sphere violates the basic constitutional right of citizens of Ukraine – the right to life.

Our medicine is free of charge only on the paper. And it is not strange: free medicine does not exist in any country of the world. Everybody understands that the article of the Constitution, which guarantees free medical aid, is purely populist. Yet, because of this populism we observe brutal violations by medics both of their professional duties and of common moral norms. Medics obtain misery salaries, so they have to wiggle out as they can. The scandalous events occurred in our country, when medics refused to render urgent medical aid free of charge. Mass media have informed recently that a young girl perished because of that. Besides, several years ago a minor died, since a surgeon refused to do operation to him until parents would not pay certain sum. While the parents looked for money, the boy died and his father, in the state of temporary insanity, throttled the doctor. Such Shakespeare’s tragedies are rather rare, but the cases are very frequent, when necessary aid is not rendered to patients, the modern diagnostic equipment is not tuned, patients cannot pay for the prescribed drugs.

The death rate is awful and puts us on the level of the poorest African countries. Cheap Ukrainian drugs almost are disappearing, and drugstores sell expensive analogs, which are prohibitive for average patient. Enormous proportion of drugs is falsified, but nobody controls that.

Consequences of “Regulations on selling of narcotic substances and precursors”, adopted by the Supreme Council three years ago, were catastrophic. The majority of people, ill with neurological, neurotic and neuro-somatic diseases, were deprived of necessary aid. Because of this “Regulations” the prices for tranquilizers in the black market reached the cost of real narcotics. Yet, drug addicts do not need either sibason, or rutadel, or clonosepam in the quantity, which can be prescribed by usual doctor. So, what mafia do we support introducing the so-called “pink” special receipts and depriving of the ill of proper medical aid? And what mafia do we support, not controlling purchase of the drugs, which are beyond the means of common citizens or have not underwent proper testing?

Respected Minister, your propositions concerning changes in medical sphere (introduction of system of family doctors, their work in villages, etc.) will not change the system of health protection, which is absent in our country, since it was destroyed after disintegration of the USSR. Everything you suggest is only patching of holes, but their number is so great that, undoubtedly, it will be impossible to patch them, for example because of the misery sums allotted by our state for the medical branch.

The system of health protection demands radical changes. We more than once wrote about the system of medical insurance with private hospital cash desks, which exist throughout the world. Why we do not hear about that from the Ministry of health protection? Who, if not the corresponding Ministry and corresponding Supreme Council committee, must elaborate the new law and persuade the deputies to adopt is as soon as possible?

Along with the grief statistics of mortality in Ukraine, we have no less sorrowful statistics of morbidity among minors: 1500 diseases for 1000 minors. And this is only boy’s statistics, since boys are examined by military commissions, but girls are ill not less frequently. Untimely and outdated diagnostics, inefficient treatment, pollution of environment, improper control over the quality of food and medical drugs lead to degradation of Ukrainian nation on the genetic level.

The previous power did not change, during 14 years, the system of health protection, but drove it to the complete collapse. Yet, this previous power openly worked only in its own interests and absolutely did not care about life and health of citizens.

It would be a crime, if the system of health protection would not be changed now, because the nation has not already either moral or physical reserve. We hope that we will obtain a response to our letter.

Sincerely yours,

I. Sukhorukova, editor of the bulletin “Prava ludyny”

E. Zakharov, co-chairman of the KhG

M. Shutaliova, co-chairman of the Kharkiv regional union of soldiers’ mothers

I. Topolevska, coordinator of the project

N. Fursova

O. Myroshnichenko

S. Karasik

Kharkiv group for human rights protection

The letter is open for signing by all interested citizens and organizations.

For signing go totheaddress: maidan&trs=-1  

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