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Ukraine received the largest award dedicated to the fight against tuberculosis

21 September 2023

The winners of the Kochon Award were doctors from Chernihiv and Kherson oblasts and the Center for Public Health. The awarding ceremony took place at the High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis at the 78th UN General Assembly.

The award went to Zhanna Karpenko, head of the Chernihiv Regional Hospital’s Phthisiology Center, who took care of the hospital’s patients even after it was completely destroyed; Viacheslav Musat, acting director of the Kherson Phthisiopulmonology Medical Center, who saved patients under enemy fire and occupation; and the leadership of the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine for creating an emergency care system even in wartime.

The winners were selected by an independent committee for their efforts, resilience, and bravery in providing TB services to the people of Ukraine during the war.

“We highly appreciate the attention to our country during the long and brutal war waged by russia against us. In Ukraine, the incidence of tuberculosis has already increased by 13% in the first 6 months of this year. More than 20% of the population has limited access to medical care due to the occupied territories, destroyed medical infrastructure, and constant shelling. In the territories where there were active battles and which are located near the front line, the detection of tuberculosis has been reduced by 15 to 50%,” said First Deputy Minister of Health Serhii Dubrov during the award ceremony.

He emphasized that due to the full-scale war, some patients have lost access to the necessary treatment for tuberculosis. Currently, more than 300 people with resistant tuberculosis in the territory temporarily occupied by russia do not have access to medical care, which creates preconditions for further spread of the disease.

The Kochon Prize is awarded annually by the Stop TB Partnership to individuals and/or organizations that have made a significant contribution to the fight against tuberculosis. It was established in 2006 in honor of the late Chairman Chong Kun Lee, founder of Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corporation and the Kochon Foundation in Korea. He was dedicated to improving access to affordable life-saving antibiotics and anti-TB drugs throughout his career. “Kochon” was the pseudonym he used.

It should be recalled that Ukrainians can currently receive free medical care for tuberculosis in any open TB facility in the country.