Yesterday “the condemned” came to the Cabinet of Ministers
Yesterday, 100 Ukrainians with cotton sacks on their heads and hands tied, as if sentenced to death, lined into a living wall in front of the Cabinet of Ministers, accompanied by drums beating. The line included patients, their relatives and activists fighting against fatal diseases namely, hepatitis, tuberculosis and AIDS. Protesters wanted to show with this action that 44,000 Ukrainians will be sentenced to death this year, if the government doesn’t allocate funds for their life-saving treatment.
On March 27, the Budget Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine upon the recommendation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine voted amendments to the State Budget of Ukraine-2013. The document submitted by the Cabinet of Ministers and adopted by the Committee ignored the Order of the President of Ukraine on the full funding of treatment for Ukrainians suffering from hepatitis, tuberculosis and AIDS. To achieve this goal it was necessary to allocate additional UAH 607 million (including 138.2 million for tuberculosis) from the state budget after its revision.
It should be noted that immediately after the announcement of the action, NGO representatives were invited for the negotiations to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. On the government portal the information appeared regarding the order of Prime Minister of Ukraine, Mykola Azarov, to the Ministries of finance and health care to provide allocations for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis during the preparation of amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On State Budget of Ukraine for 2013 year”. A copy of this order was given to protesters during the action by O. Kachur, the first Deputy Minister of Health. He assured the patients on behalf of the Cabinet of Ministers that all their requirements will be satisfied, and the money will be allocated for treatment.
As informed by the press service of the Vice Prime Minister, Kostiantyn Hrushchenko, on April 16, 2013 a meeting was held regarding the implementation of the President of Ukraine Order "On several issues to prevent the spread of epidemics of tuberculosis, AIDS and viral hepatitis". As a result of the meeting it was agreed to form a final proposal for additional funding to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis. In particular, additional USD 30 million should be allocated for tuberculosis to procure appropriate medical equipment for TB clinics.
In addition, the issue of tuberculosis treatment in penitentiary service was concerned. Thus, it is expected to allocate over USD 40 million to create departments for treatment of TB patients in detention centers in nine regions of Ukraine.
According to statistics, almost 4 million 184 thousand Ukrainians are infected with hepatitis, tuberculosis and HIV.
449,201 Ukrainians are infected with active tuberculosis. 12,000 die each year from this disease. Everyday tuberculosis affects 102 people in Ukraine.