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06.04.2009

Your health – and ours

   

With an epidemic raging, who in their right mind would reduce the number of hospital beds, personnel and facilities for fighting the disease?
The question is not rhetorical. This is precisely what the Kharkiv city authorities are doing at the present time with regard to tuberculosis. They must be stopped.
At the beginning of this year, the Kharkiv City Council elicited both outrage and disbelief over an extraordinary Order, setting out plans which by 24 May will lead to the elimination of all hospital beds for tuberculosis patients in Kharkiv, reduction of medical staff, and the total closure of the only surgery department for tuberculosis patients in the entire region.
Seriously flawed understanding of economy
The city authorities claim that the money for such facilities should come from the regional budget and that they need money for Euro-2012. Their failure to recognize the human and economic cost of such a disastrous policy is absolutely staggering. Warnings have been issued by two leading medical institutions, doctors, patients, civic organizations. The authorities have thus far ignored them, together with a recommendation to abandon the plan from the Ministry of Health.
When action could lead to a catastrophic increase in the number of cases of tuberculosis in Kharkiv, what kind of economizing can be in question?
It should be stressed that the numbers are already very disturbing. There are 73 people suffering from tuberculosis per 100 thousand head of population. The World Health Organization talks of epidemic level when this figure rises above 40.
Time to act and together
As if there were not enough problems, the Kharkiv authorities seem hell bent on creating a new, virulently contagious, crisis and the central authorities are not listening or confining themselves to words alone.
We are therefore calling on football-lovers, the media and all concerned to join our healthy football human chain. Please help us – together we can make them see sense!
The following is the Ukrainian original and a translation of the letter we are asking people to send on to the public figures named, our email address and also as many friends, colleagues, etc as they can.

Не відфутболіть SOS!

Чи Ви любите футбол?
Чи Ви були би готові заразитися смертельною хворобою заради футбольного матчу?
Ні? Ми теж не готові.
Але Харківська міська рада чомусь не розуміє, й своєю тупістю чи цинічною безвідповідальністю ставить під загрозу як наше з Вами здоров’я, так і проведення в Україні Євро-2012.
Тому звертаємось до ВСІХ небайдужих (до свого здоров’я та до футболу) з проханням – допоможіть нам розтлумачити владі декілька найелементарніших речей.
В умовах загальновизнаної епідемії туберкульозу в Україні,
НЕ МОЖНА скорочувати ліжка протитуберкульозного стаціонару, закривати єдине в області хірургічне відділення, та звільняти лікарів.
Не можна,
бо люди можуть померти,
бо хворі не переведуться до вже переповнених обласних стаціонарів, куди родичі не зможуть їм привозити необхідні харчи та інше. Хворі залишаться в місті, без стаціонарного лікування й неминуче будуть їздити міським транспортом, ходити до магазинів, де можуть – не зі своєї вини - заразити значну кількість людей.
Треба, щоби влада нарешті усвідомила, що
ТУПО ТА БЕЗВІДПОВІДАЛЬНО скорочувати заходи з лікування надзвичайно заразного захворювання. Годі ховатися за евфемізми на кшталт „реорганізації”, годі посилатися на відсутність грошей, та необхідність виділення коштів на Євро-2012.
Бо слова брехливі та чудово безглузді, й нікого не переконають.
Адже через їх навіжене бажання „ощадити” гроші, даючи перевагу футболові над здоров’ям,
НЕМИНУЧЕ зросте кількість хворих,
зросте смертність, та ризик для кожного з нас.
Де ж економія?!
Й ТАК САМО НЕМИНУЧЕ дізнається УЄФА, яку загрозу футболістам та уболівальникам готує харківська міська влада, й скасує проведення Євро-2012.в Україні.
Це ганьба для країни
Це величезні збитки,
Це безглузда втрата великого шансу для українського футболу, та держави загалом.
ДОПОМОЖІТЬ, БУДЬ ЛАСКА!
Приєднайтесь до нашого живого ланцюжка – разом від нас не відфутболять!
Надішліть ось цей лист за адресами нижче, та й до якомога більше Ваших знайомих.
ВИМАГАЄМО переглянути бюджети міста Харкова і області, щоб знайти додаткове фінансування і не закривати міський протитуберкульозний стаціонар в Харкові!
Якщо це не буде зроблено, в Україні буятиме епідемія туберкульозу, і не бачити нам Євро-2012!
А ми хочемо футбол! Зекономте на своїх зарплатах - на хворих вистачить!

Надішліть, будь ласка, копії цього листа за вказаними адресами:
Голові міста Харкова М.Добкіну
http://www.city.kharkov.ua/?page=interactive/questions/form
http://www.citynet.kharkov.ua/citynet/index.jsp?pagename=writetous&language=ua
Голові Харківської обласної ради С.І.Чернову
oblrada2006@yandex.ru
Варто й тут залишити копії
http://forum.mediaport.ua/list.php?47
Якщо можна й поштою / телефоном до Президента України В.А. Ющенка
http://www.president.gov.ua/content/secretariat_priem.html
на ім’я Прем’єра Ю.В. Тимошенко,
Голови Верховної Ради В.М. Литвину
http://www.kmu.gov.ua/zvg/control/uk/feedback/sendmessage
та міністра охорони здоров’я В.М.Князевича
moz@moz.gov.ua

Нам за адресою healthyfootball@gmail.com
Вкрай важливо, щоб і ми отримали копію Вашого листа, та й якнайбільше Ваших знайомих!
Заздалегідь дякуємо!

Your health – and ours
Do you like football?
Would you be willing to contract a dangerous disease for the sake of a football match?
No? Neither would we.
However the Kharkiv City Council seems incapable of understanding that. Whether through stupidity or cynical irresponsibility it is placing in jeopardy not only your health and ours, but also Ukraine’s part in hosting Euro-2012.
We are therefore asking ALL concerned (about their health and about Euro-2012) to help us make the authorities understand some absolutely basic things.
When Ukraine is known to be facing a tuberculosis epidemic,
YOU CANNOT reduce the number of places in tuberculosis clinics, close the only surgery unit in the region and get rid of medical staff.
You can’t because:
people could die,
patients will not agree to be transferred to already overcrowded regional hospitals where relatives will not be able to come and bring badly-needed food, etc. They will stay in the city, without hospital treatment, and will inevitably travel on public transport and go into shops where they could, through no fault of their own, infect a large number of people.
It is vital that the authorities finally understand that
IT IS DENSE AND IRRESPONSIBLE to reduce measures aimed at combating a terribly contagious disease. Let them stop hiding behind euphemisms like “reorganization” and making excuses about the lack of financing and how money is needed for Euro-2012. The words are dishonest and so staggeringly senseless that they can convince nobody.
After all, due to their demented wish to “save” money, apparently prioritizing football over health, there will INEVITABLY be an increase in the number of people contracting tuberculosis, in the mortality rate and in the risk to each of us. So where’s the money-saving?
It is just as INEVITABLE that UEFA will find out about the danger which the city authorities are exposing football players and fans to, and could cancel Ukraine’s role in Euro-2012.
This spells:
Shame for the country
Enormous losses
And a senseless waste of a wonderful opportunity for Ukrainian football and for the country as a whole
Help us please!
Join our living chain - together we can make them pay heed. Please send this appeal to the email addresses belong, and to as many friends as possible.
WE DEMAND that the budgets of Kharkiv city and the Kharkiv region are reconsidered so as to find extra funding and not close the city tuberculosis units.
If this is not done, Ukraine will be gripped by a tuberculosis epidemic and you can whistle for Euro-2012. Let them economize on their own salaries – then there’ll be enough for patients!

We have asked people to send copies to:
Kharkiv’s Mayor M. Dobkin
The Head of the Kharkiv Regional Council, S.I. Chernov,
The President Viktor Yushchenko
The Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko
The Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Lytvyn.
The Minister of Health, Vasyl Knyazevych moz@moz.gov.ua
Us at healthyfootball@gmail.com
Since (besides us!) only the Minister of Health has a direct email and it will be hard without knowledge of the languages to cope with the online forms, if you could send the letter to just these two addresses, and pass it on to others, it would be an enormous help!
Many thanks!

Contact address: Halya Coynash healthyfootball@gmail.com

Background information
KHPG began sounding the alarm back in January after the city authorities issued Order No. 1 from 3 January, setting out plans to radically cut, and eventually eliminate all tuberculosis hospital facilities. This was supposedly as a cost-cutting measure in order to free up money from the budget to finance preparation for Euro-2012.
The information from then (at, for example, http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1232998236) remains depressingly relevant. The number of appeals to the city authorities from authoritative bodies to renounce such recklessly irresponsible measures has increased substantially. All warn of disastrous consequences if the cuts are made. Yet the authorities have not only backed down, but have already carried out a major part of their cuts, and it is now planned that the remaining 230 hospital beds will get the chop before 24 May this year.
A lot of the warnings have already come true. Many patients feel simply unable to transfer to the regional facilities which were already stretched, and have in no way been increased to deal with an influx of city patients. The distances are great and their relatives would be unable to visit them, bringing food vitally needed to supplement the daily food allowance which is at present half of the already meagre norm (just over 12 UAH, instead of 25 UAH, or some 3 USD). One of the region’s units in Lyptsy has traditionally been used for people effectively dying of the disease. Often prisoners have been sent there partly so that they don’t mar the penal institution’s statistics, as well as down-and-outs from the city. The conditions are known to be shocking, and it is no wonder that tuberculosis patients needing treatment, not four walls in which to end their days, are refusing to go there.
One of the city authorities’ arguments is that it is the regional authorities who are obliged to pay for tuberculosis units. This may be a reasonable solution, however extra funding must be allocated. This is not the case at present, and “reorganization” involves the irresponsible transfer of people with a dangerous disease to hospitals quite simply unable to provide proper facilities and treatment.
As of 1 January 2009 there were 4,728 people in the Kharkiv region suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis in an active form, of whom 36% or 1702 patients were excreting bacteria (718 in the city, and 984 in the region). In 2008 1936 people contracted the disease, of these 1810 in an active form, with 847 coughing or in other ways expelling the bacteria.
As already mentioned, these figures reflect statistics almost double the figure of 40 per 100 thousand head of population any higher than which the WHO has stated constitutes an epidemic.
One can cite a long list of laws which are being contravened by the city authorities’ actions, however the clear violation of vital norms of the Constitution, as well as of sheer commonsense, surely render further proof of how dangerous the cuts are entirely redundant.

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