Speech of A/Minister of Health Dr. Ulana Suprun at the High Level Meeting on NCDs, the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (As Delivered)
With resolute determination we are liberating Ukraine’s healthcare system held hostage by Soviet design which openly neglected patients. Ukrainians deserve a modern healthcare modeled after the world’s best standards and practices putting patients first.
A key priority is fighting non-communicable diseases (NCDs) annually accounting for 86% of all deaths in Ukraine, a country with one of the highest mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases in Europe.
One social determinant of health is access to medicines. The Groysman Government implemented the Affordable Medicines National Prescription Drugs Cost Reimbursement Program, providing for full or partial reimbursement of essential medicines treating cardiovascular diseases, asthma and type 2 diabetes. It is currently used by almost 18% of the population, primarily the elderly and socially vulnerable.
Cooperating with WHO experts, and importantly with public input, our government formally approved a National Action Plan for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, Control and Health Promotion to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
This Plan includes banning advertising and other types of promotion, for tobacco, alcohol, low-alcohol and energy drinks, and foods high in salt, fat, sugar and trans fat.
Inculcating a generational change, the Plan inputs healthy lifestyle education content into the curricula of secondary schools, and higher and postgraduate education, and meaningful public campaigns highlighting the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity, highlighting the costs of smoking, alcohol abuse, stress and polluted environments.
We are currently strengthening programs of prevention and early detection of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, focusing Ukrainians on good quality contact and care with family doctors. Over 18 million Ukrainians have voluntarily registered in less than 6 months to have a direct relationship with a doctor of their choosing. That is 43% of the population.
The ambitious 2030 targets of our Plan include a one-third reduction in risk of premature mortality NCDs; at least a 10% reduction in the harmful use of alcohol; a 10% reduction in physical inactivity; an 18.5% reduction in prevalence of tobacco use in persons aged 15 and older; halting the rise in diabetes and obesity; a 25% reduction in road traffic accident death rates.
Enthusiastic goals, fundamentally about Ukrainians deserving to live full lives in a Europe “whole and free” requires investment in people and thus Ukraine has become an early adopter of the World Bank Group's Human Capital Project.
Implementing this transformation while parts of Ukraine are under attack by the Russian military requires your recognition and determination to focus international attention on the health problems of the populations in the territories under Russian military occupation, as they are often denied access to healthcare, medicines, or protection from NCDs, and related consequences. Russian occupation authorities continue horrible and blatant violations of human rights.
Reliable partners work together to improve healthcare. We therefore ask the WHO to conduct a comprehensive and realistic assessment in the occupied territories of Crimea and East Ukraine. The health of our people cannot be ignored or sacrificed to the aggressive behavior of Russia’s President, his proxies and mercenaries.
As delivered on Sept. 27, 2018, at the UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on NCDs, 73rd General Assembly, United Nations, New York City, NY.
Please follow the link to read the full speech in Ukrainian