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Country statement by A/Minister of Health Dr. Ulana Suprun at the 5th Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial Meeting (As Delivered)

6 November 2018

Distinguished colleagues!

Thank you for including Ukraine in the 5th Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial Meeting.
Strengthening the capacity to respond to biological, anthropogenic, nuclear and chemical threats is high on the agenda for Ukraine, as well as all GHSA members.
During the first 4-year cycle of the GHSA Initiative that concludes this year, Ukraine assessed its existing capacity, establishing inter-sectoral working groups, developing multiple five-year work-plans in line with the GHSA's recommendations. We have set the following five priorities for the next period:

  1. Data Collection and Digitalization — strengthening of the national epidemiological surveillance system, as an area of focus in public health and the introduction of electronic systems for data collection and reporting.
  2. Strengthening Immunization Rates – through policy changes and informational campaigns.
  3. Communication — crisis communication trainings.
  4. Technical Equipment — reorganization of public health laboratories, which will speed up the detection of agents (pathogens) of infectious diseases in bacterial and viral etiology and secure the collections of pathogens through digitization.
  5. Methodology — the use of global approaches to developing and implementing transnational, national, and regional disaster preparedness and response plans.

Biosecurity policies must recognize threats from terrorists including attacks against the civilian population, causing injury or death – for example, shelling human settlements, the downing the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) which killed all 289 people on-board with a Russian made BUK missile that illegally entered Ukraine from Russia as part of Russia’s invasion in 2014, using weapons prohibited under international conventions - and in particular chemical weapons attacks in Syria, and the use of Novichok in Salisbury in the United Kingdom. In October, four children ages 10 to 13 were injured by an anti-personnel landmine in the town of Horlivka, Ukrainian territories occupied by the Russian Federation. Three of them died. The fourth is in hospital. The US Embassy in Ukraine tweeted that Russia has turned Ukraine into one of the leading countries whose population is threatened by landmines. 220 thousand children in eastern Ukraine are under threat from unexploded ordinance and land mines because of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The Russian Federation is responsible for all of the above-listed crimes, it is the state that continues the war in eastern Ukraine for a fourth consecutive year killing over 10 thousand, has occupied 6% of our territory internally displacing over 1.5 million people. Russia’s actions undermine both biosecurity and global security.
Russia’s hybrid war is all-encompassing and pervasive. It includes not only military offensives, but more importantly, the deliberate misuse and manipulation of information. Ukraine is currently the object of Russia's hybrid war, but it would be a mistake to think that Ukraine is the only target.
Research published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that Russian trolls and bots have been fueling the anti-vaccination debate for years spreading lies and posting anti-vaccine messages on social media. We are all aware of the results – in the period from September 2017 to August 2018, measles cases in Europe hit a record high with more than 60,000 people infected, and 31 deaths.
Russia is sponsoring and conducting a hybrid war against the health of everyone through the misuse and abuse of social media. This demands an immediate reaction from the international community, as this war is an active threat to global biosecurity, to that end, Russia should be recognized as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Internet Research Agency of the Russian Federation should be recognized as a threat to national security of member states, and the international sanctions regime should be expanded to include Russian healthcare-related businesses.

As delivered on Nov. 6, 2018, at the 5th Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial Meeting, Bali, Indonesia.

Please follow the link to read the full speech in Ukrainian

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