The 170bln hryvnia funding for Ukraine’s healthcare system planned for in the consolidated budget does not cover the system’s minimum needs, especially amid the COVID-19 epidemic. OPPOSITION PLATFORM – FOR LIFE MP Serhiy Lovochkin believes that healthcare expenses must be made top priority over the rest budget costs.

“The government trumpets its successes in fighting coronavirus but keeps silent about catastrophic lack of funds for healthcare. WHO and Ukraine’s legislation prescribe that healthcare system must be funded at minimum 5 percent of GDP. In Ukraine, even if all planned costs are covered by budget, the amount will only reach 4.3 percent. To abide with our own laws, the healthcare budget must be increased by at least 30bln hryvnia. This money can be found if the government cuts expenses for the state apparatus instead of restoring huge salaries for state companies’ board members,” the politician said.

He explained that problems that surfaced within the healthcare system back in spring have persisted: the second stage of the ‘reform’ continues closing hospitals in the regions, with tuberculosis, psychiatric, and other specialized clinics facing the highest risks.

“Despite the declared increase of healthcare fees, all hospitals still charge their patients at ‘April’ rates, which only cover half of the real costs. No health protection for Ukrainians is possible under such conditions,” the MP believes.

The situation is aggravated with poor funding of planned healthcare costs, Lovochkin says. According to the Audit Chamber data, the program for state healthcare guarantees and the measures for COVID-19 spread prevention are underfunded by 30.4 percent, with only 29.9bln hryvnia allocated.

“For the quarantine period, we need a statutory provision that will make healthcare costs top priority over the rest budget expenses, including state apparatus costs and national debt service. The government must finally realize what is most important during the epidemic. If it does not, we need a different government,” Lovochkin said.