President of Ukraine

Quarantine mitigation and the second stage of medical reform: President's address to Ukrainians

4 May 2020 - 17:18

Quarantine mitigation and the second stage of medical reform: President's address to Ukrainians

Fellow Ukrainians!

Traditionally, at the beginning of the address, I wish you good health.

And today, I also want to wish everyone an important precondition to this health. It is patience. Patience to adhere to quarantine and wait until a safe situation.

Look at the statistics of the countries that either did not introduce quarantine measures or made them soft. The result is thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of infected every day.

Yes, there is a negative impact of quarantine on the economy. The losses from it are painful. But the potential losses from high morbidity and mortality are catastrophic. According to research, the complete abolition of quarantine will have shocking consequences. If we return to the usual rhythm of life tomorrow, it is potentially plus 120,000 deaths by the end of the year. This is why quarantine mitigation cannot be premature. It will be phased and the first mitigation will take place on May 11. Parks, beauty salons, summer terraces of cafes and restaurants will be opened.

Current statistics now give us hope for the future. However, the situation could have been different. We could have had not 12, but 200 thousand infected. There are two reasons why the critical scenario was avoided. The first is measures taken in time. Tough, but, as time has shown, correct. The second reason is the merit of our Ukrainian doctors. Their professionalism, courage and dedication on the frontline of struggle against coronavirus. Today, the COVID-19 theme has filled the whole space, but at the same time we cannot forget the global situation in our medical field. Because today our doctors are under attack.

Facebook, Instagram, and my desktop are filled with appeals from medical teams from all over our country. They are all related to the second phase of medical reform. We usually ask our doctors for help. Today, our doctors are asking for help.

You know, since the first days of the presidency, I've been getting absolutely polar information. Some assure me that reform is a panacea, while others say it is death.

We needed an unbiased and objective assessment. Not the one of sofa experts, but the one of top domestic doctors. We have created a working group of academics, professors and distinguished doctors of our country. They, together with the new leadership of the Ministry of Health, have analyzed the situation. The truth is that the reform has both pros and cons.

Our mission is to keep all the positive moments and to fix the mistakes immediately.

In particular, the new funding mechanism could lead to the dismissal of about 50,000 doctors and the closure of 332 hospitals across Ukraine. Almost 1,000 hospitals will receive much less money than last year. Emergency medical care, multidisciplinary hospitals, cancer centers, veterans' hospitals, most children's hospitals, psychiatric and tuberculosis services are in danger. All of this raises a number of questions. Why are physicians forced to think about their own survival instead of saving other people's lives? Why were tariffs drawn up by officials without deep understanding of the process and not by doctors? Why was one emergency call assessed in the amount of 75 hryvnias?

Why does a stroke or a heart attack cost at least twice cheaper in the documents than in real life?

Under the new mechanism, some hospitals will have money only for a door lock and a poster: “We are closed. Hold on. Good luck”.

Regional children's hospitals will receive nearly UAH 200 million less.

Most tuberculosis hospitals and dispensaries are on the verge of closing.

I cannot allow all this. I cannot allow the reduction of ambulance crews. I cannot allow situations when a person feels bad on Monday and the ambulance comes on Tuesday. Or, if you are a resident of the Sumy region, you better not get sick at all because you’ll have to drive 200 kilometers to get treatment.

I cannot allow qualified pediatricians to go abroad leading to a catastrophic increase in infant mortality. Or the incidence of tuberculosis increased by a third in the next two years. We cannot allow all this because otherwise it will be called sabotage, not reform.

That is why I call on the Minister of Health, the Chairman of the profile committee of the Verkhovna Rada and the Chief medical officer of Ukraine to urgently put forward solutions to these issues. We do not need to curtail reform, we need to improve it. We need recognition of mistakes and their correction.

I am convinced that the global requirement is one, and it is very simple: patients and doctors of all levels must be satisfied with the reform.

Fellow Ukrainians! Questions about reform do not mean that we consider our medicine ideal or that nothing needs to be changed.

Believe me, from the beginning of coronavirus, I see like no other that our medical industry is not just vulnerable, but is actually a step away from a coma.

And the only thing that keeps it still alive is our Ukrainian doctors.

I cannot allow 50,000 of them to end up on the street.

During the war, no one reduces his own army. Our doctors today are the same army that protects the health of Ukrainians.

Therefore, I am waiting for the relevant decisions from all authorized persons.

And I wish good health and traditional 36.6 to you, fellow Ukrainians!

Take care of ourselves! Take care of our doctors!

Save Ukraine!