Today, 100 Ukrainians with cotton sacks on their heads, as if condemned to death, lined into a living wall in front of the Cabinet, accompanied by beating of drums. All of them are patients with terminal illness — namely, hepatitis, tuberculosis, AIDS, and activists. Protesters wanted to show with this action that 44 000 Ukrainians are sentenced to death this year, because funds for life-saving treatment haven’t been allocated yet.
The fact is that on March, 27, the Budget Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine upon the recommendation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine voted amendments to the State Budget of Ukraine-2013. The document submitted by the Cabinet of Ministers and adopted by the Committee ignored the Order of the President of Ukraine on the full funding of treatment for Ukrainians suffering from deadly diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis and AIDS. To achieve this goal it was necessary to allocate additional UAH 607 million from the state budget after its revision:
«The Order of President should be performed and the funds must be allocated for treatment. Otherwise, 44,000 Ukrainians will die this year. — says Dmitry Sherembey, Head of Patient Organization UCAB. — We hope that the Cabinet of Ministers, within a period specified by law, reallocates budget for terminally-ill people. It’s urgent to purchase medicines and forward them to the hospitals as soon as possible. This especially applies to the treatment of hepatitis C».
It should be noted that according to the Order of the President, the Cabinet should solve the problem of financing medicines for hepatitis, AIDS and tuberculosis by May, 15. Therefore, patients, their relatives and activists who came to support them, hope that the Cabinet will submit to Parliament a bill amending the Budget-2013 for additional expenditures of UAH 607 million for the purchase of drugs for terminally-sick.
«I came here so that people who decide should I live or I die could look at me and the other people they left no chance for life — says Olena, a patient with hepatitis C. — This is my last hope to reach those who decide my fate.»
We would like to emphasize that the Ministry of Health has submitted a request to the Cabinet on the allocation of funds for the treatment of 2000 patients with hepatitis C, who will inevitably die this year due to the absence of treatment.
It should be noted that immediately after the announcement of the action, NGO representatives were invited for the negotiations to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. On the government portal appeared the information on the order of Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov to the Ministries of finance and health care to provide allocations for the treatment of HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis during the preparation of amendments to the Law of Ukraine «On State Budget of Ukraine for 2013 year». A copy of this order was given to protesters during the action by O.Kachur, the first Deputy Minister of Health. He assured the patients on behalf of the Cabinet of Ministers, that all their requirements will be satisfied, and the money will be allocated for treatment.
[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”normal” animation=”none” background=”plain”]Additional Information:
According to statistics, in Ukraine almost 4 million 184 thousand Ukrainians are infected with hepatitis, tuberculosis and HIV.
Hepatitis C is the most common epidemic in Ukraine. Approximately 3.5 million Ukrainians suffer from viral hepatitis. The disease is dangerous because it can be transmitted in a hospital during the manipulation with blood, at the dentist’s and even in the nail salon. Treatment is unavailable for most Ukrainians because of the high cost. One treatment course costs USD 18-20 000 per year. Adult treatment for hepatitis C have never been purchased on state funds. Moreover, it is the only epidemic in Ukraine, which is completely ignored by the State: there is neither national program nor even treatment protocols.
234,832 Ukrainians are living with HIV. Daily HIV infection affects 58 Ukrainians. In 2012 nearly four thousand people died of AIDS in Ukraine.
449,201 Ukrainians are infected with active tuberculosis. 12,000 die each year from this disease. Every day tuberculosis affects 102 people in Ukraine.
Each day 209 persons die from the three epidemics in Ukraine.
In the last 20 years, Ukraine lost 369,780 thousand citizens from these epidemics.
If we consider the family and relatives of people who have these diseases, the number of people affected is about 12 million 150 thousand, representing 36% of the population of Ukraine.[/dt_quote]