Finishing up with this piece by Viktoria Fedotova, on the crisis of the Ukrainian healthcare situation. It is the story (or extended metaphor) of a patient, a little girl named Ukraina, born with several genetic defects and badly in need of treatment, who was given exactly the wrong kind of treatment, assigned to the wrong kind of doctor, and hence got worse instead of better. This patient needed, maybe Doctor Aybolit, and was assigned to Doctor Death, instead. As her 15-minute PCP.
According to Fedotova, the number of infectious diseases is growing, in the Ukraine, at an alarming rate. Including an untreatable version of Hepatitis A. Last January, for the first time in 10 years, a case if diphtheria was discovered. Ukraine has also seen a recent breakout of measles, with 11,700 cases, the majority of which, children, of course.
British epidemiologists studying the Ukrainian situation, are predicting a rise in HIV infections, which they ascribe to the worsening medical situation, plus an inflow of refugees (into Ukraine proper) from the Donbass region. [That last factor, I suspect, a politically motivated prognosis, since Donetsk, for example, certainly has a better medical system in place than many parts of the central Ukraine — namely, the old Soviet medical system. Although it is certainly true that people migrating from the war zone in Donbass to, say, Kiev, are not given much in the way of housing and medical support.]
Rate of HIV infection is considered a key indicator of health care excellence (or lack thereof) in European countries. In this regard, the Ukraine rates poorly, with 220,000 HIV+ citizens. Out of a population of (officially, but probably several millions less) 45 million.
In 2017 nine regions of Ukraine showed outbreaks of botulism. Which always proved to be fatal. Up until 2014 Ukraine imported a botulism vaccine from Russia, but these imports have stopped. So there is no more vaccine.
Many of these infectious diseases could be avoided altogether — this is actually old science — but in the Ukraine there is a political factor which gets in the way. About a month ago, Ukraine’s agency for Medicine and Control of Narcotics put a ban on importing a French wonder-drug vaccine that innoculates for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and poliomyelitis, all with one shot. Why was the French import banned? Because the line prepared for the Ukrainian market was labelled in Russian, and Ukrainian law forbids purchasing anything that has Russian labels. They would have purchased the vaccine if anybody in France knew enough Ukrainian to write Ukrainian labels. I suppose it would be too much work to repackage the stuff with new labels.
This ridiculous ideologically-motivated ban extends to an additional 40 products manufactured in Russia and previously imported into the Ukraine. These products also, presumably, have Russian-language labels.
This sort of idiocy and nationalist fanaticism is harming Ukrainian children, destroying an entire generation, and laying waste a nation, in a fashion almost Biblical in its extent and absurdity. Yet the Ukrainian politicians experience no shame in spinning this situation to their own advantage. The head of the Healthcare Committee of the Upper Rada is a woman aptly named Olga Bogomolets (=”She who prays to God”) because she is right up there with the faith-based approach to modern medicine. While the attractive blonde parliamentarian spoke against the “reforms” proposed by Suprun, she herself had no better ideas to offer, other than empty words: “I believe in changes for the better. And I extend all my efforts in that direction. And I believe that we, Ukrainians, will become a nation of people who live long lives — healthy, joyful, and successful lives!” Thus showing off what has become one of the primary traits of the modern Ukrainian patriot: Substituting words for actions. Or, as the Russians say, passing off the desired as the actual.