Those in high places travel abroad for medical treatment


Ukraine’s Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is visiting the Altai Region of the Russian Federation for medical treatment. His deputy, Mykola Azarov, has confirmed this and says that Mr Yanukovych is undergoing rehabilitative treatment using folk medicine. 

Ukrainian doctors view with amazement the increasing regularity with which those in power travel abroad for medical treatment. They say that there is no need for this and that they are through their behaviour simply harming Ukraine’s medical services.

Mr Yanukovych underwent an operation on his knee in Barcelona a few months ago, and returned again for rehabilitation therapy.

The Minister of Internal Affairs Vasyl Tsushko has also recently returned from medical treatment in Germany. 

President Yushchenko was treated for his dioxin poisoning in an Austrian clinic.

When Yevhen Kushnaryov was fatally injured in a hunting accident in the Kharkiv region, German doctors were flown to the small town of Izyum to endeavour to save his life.

Under such circumstances it is not quite clear why this year the Cabinet of Ministers allocated several hundred million UAH to do repairs to the governmental hospital “Feofania”. According to expert assessments, this figure is several times higher than the amount allocated for all rural medicine.

Doctors also shake their heads in bemusement, watching the foreign courses of treatment given the Ukrainian political elite. Some try to comfort themselves by saying at least they can treat “ordinary people”.

The Director of the International Centre for Neurological Surgery Ihor Kurilets who has on many occasions criticized the slow rate of reform of the health care system says that in Soviet times it was customary to be treated at home since they spied on medical establishments. In present conditions, he says, those in power have no concern about Ukrainian hospitals.

He says, however, that the professional level of local doctors in the top clinics has been recognized by foreign colleagues. At present, he says, the right is right to create a fashion for Ukrainian medicine.

“The days have long gone when one needed to talk of Ukrainian medicine being far behind, as was declared at the first stage of independence. The potential conditions have already been created. Maybe they seem like oases. However, the few buds first there turned into oases, and tomorrow they can cover the entire country. I think those in power should look a little at what is happening in Ukrainian clinics, not, say, from the position of passengers in some jumbo jet, but at their medical offices.”
Ihor Kurilets says that there is no longer any need for treatment abroad, that there are enough good specialists and equipment in Ukraine. Moreover, treatment at home will stimulate the further development of Ukrainian medical care.

(slightly abridged)

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