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Healthcare reform is ongoing even in the face of full-scale war - Viktor Liashko

13 December 2023

Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Liashko spoke about the healthcare system’s performance in the context of a full-scale war and its continued reforms during the high-level international conference “Trust and transformation. Resilient and sustainable health systems for the future” in Tallinn (Estonia), where a separate discussion panel was devoted to the functioning of the Ukrainian healthcare system.

“In 2018, we launched a fundamental reform of the Ukrainian healthcare system. The National Health Service was created to implement the principle of “money follows the patient”, a medical guarantee program was launched instead of a subvention, and approaches to public procurement of both services and medicines were changed. The outbreak of a full-scale war put the implementation of the new plans on hold. All efforts were aimed at establishing a mechanism for providing medical care in the new conditions - military operations, rocket attacks, and shelling. Military and civilian medicine have merged into a single medical space,” said Minister Viktor Liashko. “However, having done everything to ensure the sustainability of the healthcare system, we have returned to the systemic transformation plan. Our goal remains unchanged - high-quality, accessible, free medical services for Ukrainians in any community.”

The Minister said that in 2023, the infrastructure phase of the reform was completed, resulting in the formation of 19 hospital districts with a clear definition of the role of each medical institution - a list of mandatory services that can be obtained there. This allows to rationalize the distribution of procurement and supply of equipment between hospitals, as well as to optimize personnel policy. All investment projects under the program to rebuild Ukraine’s healthcare infrastructure are also implemented solely with due regard to the role of certain medical institutions in a capable network to ensure the most efficient distribution of financial resources from both international partners and government programs.

The Ministry continues to work on increasing the number of areas of medical care funded by the state and therefore free of charge for patients. In particular, this concerns the continuous expansion of the medical guarantees program. Next year, the program will include organ and bone marrow transplants. This will speed up the development of the transplantation system and simplify some bureaucratic procedures. Despite the war, the transplantation industry is showing very positive dynamics. Kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, and pancreas are already being transplanted in Ukraine. In addition, in 2024, the Medical Guarantee Program will include a package of assisted reproductive technologies for the first time.

In addition, we are constantly working to increase the availability of medicines for citizens by expanding the reimbursement program. Thus, in 2024, the list of medicines that can be obtained free of charge or with a partial co-payment will be expanded to include medicines for the treatment of mental and behavioral disorders.

An important aspect of the reform is the ongoing monitoring of the quality of healthcare. This includes both automatic monitoring, i.e., analysis of data in the electronic healthcare system, and actual monitoring, which is carried out by requesting information and documents or in the form of monitoring visits.

During the high-level international conference, Minister Viktor Liashko met with the ministers of health of Estonia, Latvia, Cyprus, Sweden and representatives of the WHO European Commission. The meeting discussed topical issues of medical evacuation of wounded for treatment abroad, exchange of medical experience, and continued humanitarian support for Ukraine’s medical system.

It should be recalled that during the Third First Ladies and Gentlemen Summit, within the framework of the Satellite Summit of Ministers of Health, Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Liashko and Minister of Health of the Republic of Estonia Riina Sikkut signed a memorandum of cooperation between their respective ministries.