Government cuts funding for children’s medical care in favour of football
On 1 June representatives of a number of Ukrainian NGOs issued a statement regarding the government’s direct disregard for CHILDREN’S RIGHTS.
“On International Children’s Day we are forced to state that the Ukrainian government is not safeguarding children’s fundamental rights – the right to medical care and to life.
Just before 1 June the Cabinet of Ministers passed a decision to hand 200 million UAH envisaged for the construction of a diagnosis and treatment complex within the Oxkhmatdyt Children’s Hospital for spending on Euro 2012. This is the latest example where Ukrainian officials have demonstrated that football is more important for them than the health and life of small Ukrainians”
The statement explains that according to the Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 443 from 21 May, changes are made which reduce financing for Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital in 2012 by 349 million UAH (from 399 million to 50 million) with the money set aside for Euro 2012 increased by 340 million. This brings the overall amount which Ukrainians have paid for Euro 2012 to 20 billion 801 million UAH.
“Just 8 months ago Prime Minister Azarov promised to reconstruct Okhmatdyt and provide the capital with a modern European level children’s hospital. He stated that in 2012 900 million UAH would be allocated to ensure swift construction of a building for bone marrow transplants and oncohaematology. Full reconstruction was supposed to be completed in 2013. Instead construction work has virtually stopped and the heavy technology for the oncohaematology unit which needed to be installed at construction stage has still not been bought.
Many Ukrainians had great hopes for Mr Azarov’s promises with the reconstructed building intended to create the only unit in Ukraine where bone marrow transplants from unrelated donors could be carried out. Such bone marrow transplants are carried out in all of Europe aside from Ukraine and Moldova. In Germany such operations are available in 38 clinics and almost 100 units; in Poland – in 17 clinics; in Russia – in four. A bone marrow transplant for a Ukrainian child in Belarus costs around 200 thousand dollars, in Western Europe one and a half or two times more. The Ukrainian budget for each such operation, together with preparation and rehabilitation comes on average to 100 thousand UAH, i.e. 10 times less than the cost of treatment abroad.
We consider it cynicism when the State finds almost 21 billion UAH for football which will last a month, and cannot find 900 million for a hospital where hundreds and thousands of children’s lives could be saved. The direct responsibility for this lies with officials who so allocate taxpayers’ money.
We demand that the Prime Minister and Minister of Health publically explain to Ukrainians the reasons for the stalling on construction of the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital and clearly state when and with what money the construction work will be completed. We demand a public statement on this from the Guarantor of the Constitution Viktor Yanukovych and the Human Rights Children’s Ombudsperson Yury Pavlenko.
We are convinced that this issue is much more important for people than sport passions, since at stake is what is most important – children’s lives.”
The statement is signed by 17 representatives of civic organizations