Health reforms hazardous to health
Human rights organizations have released their annual report on Human Rights in Healthcare – 2012. Its authors note that during the year the situation only improved in the sphere of palliative medicine. The rights of people with HIV and of prisoners continue to be violated. The current medical reforms, they say, have worsened the situation with respect to help for vulnerable groups in society.
The report was compiled by around 20 NGOs including the Kharkiv Human Rights Group; the Institute for Legal Research and Strategy and the International Alliance on HIV/AIDS, using information received from patients, expert assessments as well as media reports. The report outlines the violations found in the implementation underway of medical reforms, and proposes ways of eliminating them.
With respect to palliative care there were improvements – registration of tablet form morphine; a Health Ministry Order changing the system of healthcare for those with chronic pain syndrome, and the new Human Rights Ombudsperson began working with human rights groups, Olha Lubyana from the Institute for Legal Research and Strategy says.
In general, however, the reforms have worsened the availability of medical care. Reorganization of hospitals has led to a reduction in the number of hospital places and the closure of medical establishments. The “primary healthcare centres” created in their place, especially in rural areas, fail to take into account the difficulty for the elderly and the disabled to get to them.
The report also criticizes changes to the ambulance system. The time frame set for arrivals, it says, fail to take into account the state of the roads, traffic jams, lack of numbering on houses etc. Doctors are leaving because of the low salaries and impossible demands and the workload is therefore increasing. In one region of Kyiv there are 15-17 ambulances, but doctors work only on 4-5, with the others going out to patients with medical assistants.
The report speaks of the underfunding of the State programme on countering HIV/AIDS with only 80% of the amount actually allocated.
Only 986 out of 6, 347 HIV positive prisoners receive antiretroviral therapy.
The report with recommendations has been sent to the Human Rights Ombudsperson; the Health Ministry; the Ministry of Social Policy; and the State Penitentiary Service.