Issues Affecting Health Care Delivery in Ukraine

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Health care delivery in the Ukraine is compromised by a number of issues. Specifically, the healthcare facilities’ infrastructures are substandard, equipment is outdated and there is a gross shortage of qualified physicians (Beck, Mays, Whiteside & Zuniga, 2006). Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has suffered economically; this has resulted in underfunding for healthcare reforms and reduced accessibility to healthcare, particularly for at-risk populations. Unfortunately, physicians earn very little, which compels the most qualified to practice elsewhere. Furthermore, not all healthcare providers are fully trained (Healthcare in Ukraine, n. d.). Therefore, the most significant issue facing healthcare delivery in the Ukraine is poor economic conditions.

Since gaining independence from the former Soviet Union, Ukraine’s healthcare system has changed little. The problem is that when Ukraine was a Soviet state, all costs for operating health facilities were fixed (electricity, heat, medical supplies, etc.), allowing the operation of an extensive network of healthcare facilities (Beck, Mays, Whiteside & Zuniga, 2006). The current decrease of economic resources, particularly for healthcare has resulted in existing facilities to decline. Costs for maintaining and upgrading existing or establishing new facilities is prohibitive under Ukraine’s current healthcare system.

Beyond the condition of healthcare facilities, access to medical care for rural communities is meager. This is in part due to minimal government spending on healthcare; according to national data, public healthcare comprised less that 3% of Ukraine’s GDP (Beck, Mays, Whiteside & Zuniga, 2006). According to the World Health Organization, Ukraine’s spending per patient was only $148.00 per person per year in 2001 (Beck, Mays, Whiteside & Zuniga, 2006). This is less than 10% of the EU average of $2,226.00 per person per year (Beck, Mays, Whiteside & Zuniga, 2006)....
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