Lack of doctors and state subventions for IDPs in the “grey zone”

A meeting of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Public Health was held on 3 July.

Members of Parliament decided to hear from healthcare workers from Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts about the current state of health services and medical provision in the region, responding to the appeal from the Liaison Officer (RADNYK) Programme experts and the Stabilization Support Services.

 

According to Yuriy Uzun, director of the Department of public health of Donetsk Regional State Administration (RSA), there are 61 settlements in the “grey zone”, where the majority of retirees live. There are 31 outpatient clinics. International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) are busy with helping local residents with medicine and consultations. The state is providing oblast with leftover medicines, and it is much worse than in the Kharkiv or Dnipropetrovsk oblasts. The representatives of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine were surprised by the statement of the director of the Department that the oblast does not receive subventions for more than 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Exact the same situation is in the Luhansk oblast. According to Larisa Kulbach, Luhansk oblast does not receive state subventions for 260,000 IDPs, who live there. There are 24 settlements in the “grey zone”, where 26,000 locals and 10,000 IDPs live. There are 8 outpatient clinics and 10 feldsher stations. An acute problem is the lack of doctors and medical staff. Therefore, the local authorities aim to initiate the development of a pilot medical sector reform project in the oblast.

In turn, the Liaison Officer (RADNYK) Programme experts, based on information provided by Liaison Officers (LO) in the oblasts, suggested several recommendations to improve the situation with health services and medical provision in these oblasts.

First of all,  it is necessary to set up motivation mechanisms for doctors and medical staff to go on working in the oblasts. The state should increase a salary rate for doctors and other medical staff, similarly to the provisions of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Resolution On peculiarities of salary for workers engaging in Anti-Terrorist Operation. In addition, a compensatory mechanism for the population should be developed and implemented, taking into account the inaccessibility (ambulance don’t come to the “red zone”, the lack of transport connection, etc.) of medical institutions. A single database of benefits and compensations, which IDPs and those living in the non-government controlled territories (NGCA) and front-line territories have the right for, will allow to find the necessary information on state benefits and support programmes.

A sufficient condition to improve the situation in the healthcare sector in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts is to adopt the draft law No. 6692, aiming to restore the right to pensions for citizens who can not receive an IDP certificate for some reasons. IDPs and those living in front-line territories remain one of the most vulnerable social groups in Ukraine. According to data provided by Liaison Officers on IDP issues, as of April 2018, 56% of all IDPs in Ukraine live in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. More than 52% of all IDPs are retirees, another 15% are children. Almost 3.5% are persons with disabilities.

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