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Viktor Liashko: Expanding the network of rehabilitation facilities is a joint task of central and local authorities

31 July 2023

Ivano-Frankivsk hosted a regular meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, chaired by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The agenda included key topics such as prioritizing defense and protection of the state, preparing for winter, and rebuilding critical infrastructure to ensure normal community life.

“Ukrainian soldiers and all our people must feel that Ukrainian communities consider defense to be the first priority, as I have noted today. All of you see the priorities and needs of combat brigades and other units in which soldiers from your communities, from every city and village of Ukraine serve,” the Head of State said during the meeting.

One of the priorities of the Ministry of Health is to rapidly expand the network of modern medical facilities with high-quality rehabilitation care, where soldiers can receive modern, evidence-based and effective healthcare rehabilitation. Minister Viktor Liashko emphasized that the construction and reconstruction of the respective rehabilitation units is a joint task of central and local authorities. According to the fundamentals of Ukraine’s healthcare legislation, it is the executive bodies of village, town and city councils that manage municipal healthcare facilities and organize their logistical, personnel and financial support.

During the meeting, they discussed the project to create a regional rehabilitation center for military personnel in Ivano-Frankivsk, which will specialize in physical and mental rehabilitation of defenders. The city already has a powerful rehabilitation unit at the regional clinical hospital. The expansion allows helping even more military personnel. The project will be implemented using budget funds and assistance from international donors.

“When people ask me about my vision for the development of the healthcare system, I always emphasize that our goal is high-quality, affordable and free medical care. According to the National Health Service, UAH 76.5 billion has already been paid to contracted medical institutions for services provided to patients under the Medical Guarantees Program. This amounts to 6% of all state budget expenditures today,” said Viktor Liashko.

They also focused on preparations for the heating season. The Ministry of Health is actively cooperating with international partners to provide hospitals with generators and uninterruptible power supplies so that medical facilities can fully operate and provide medical care to patients in any scenario. As of today, 4095 generators have been delivered to hospitals. In addition, energy efficiency projects are being implemented.

For example, the Ministry of Health, as part of a joint project with the World Bank “Strengthening the Healthcare System and Saving Lives” (HEAL UKRAINE), has collected and is currently processing applications from primary care facilities for the installation of solar energy equipment (solar panels, battery, inverter, installation, development of design and estimate documentation, etc.). The total funding for the entire project is EUR 100 million. In addition, as part of the same project, Ukraine has already received two grants totaling USD 20 million in co-financing. These funds are aimed at improving primary health care, rehabilitation, mental health, and reconstruction services.

Work is ongoing to restore Ukraine’s medical infrastructure, as medical care should be available to everyone who needs it. As of the end of July 2023, 343 medical facilities have been completely repaired, and another 414 have been partially restored.  Most of the restored medical facilities are in Mykolaiv, Dnipro, Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv oblasts.

The Ministry of Health, while responding to the challenges of the war, does not stop implementing its strategic objectives. One of them is European integration. The first stage of the assessment of EU legal acts as part of the self-screening procedure has now been completed. The Ministry’s experts have reviewed more than 1,500 acts of EU law (EU acquis) in the field of healthcare. The study identified 347 EU regulations that require mandatory implementation into Ukrainian legislation. They are divided into 4 areas: public health, pharmaceutical regulation, medical services and medical education. The process of consultation with partners, experts, and business has now begun in order to set priorities and draw up the most optimal roadmap for the implementation of EU directives and regulations.