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Polluting the civil society space

March 11, 2016

It is no secret that the Ukrainian health care system is in desperate needs of reform – which governmental ministry or institution of State is not?

It is an issue that is in no way assisted by the long-term absence of a Minister of Health to drive, be responsible and accountable for, those reforms.

A strategy does exist, but in the absence of “ownership” of this reformation plan – and it would be foolish to expect the Cabinet of Ministers or Prime Minister Yatseniuk to take any responsibility for its implementation over and above the “easy” parts (for the health care system is a poisoned chalice) in the absence of a Minister of Health – implementation, no differently than leadership, is severely lacking.

Without leadership, ownership, responsibility and accountability, the Ministry of Health remains as vulnerable to corruption and theft as it was under former Health Minister Raisa Bohatyriova, who as part of the Yanukovych regime stole tens of millions of dollars from the budget through several schemes.

Earlier this month Ms Bohatyriova was removed from the EU sanctions list of Yanukovych thieves having repaid the Ukrainian State the monies stolen, making good the financial losses attributed to her.  Needless to say she remains wanted by Ukraine for the crimes committed despite the return of the stolen funds.  Mens rea and all that.

However, one very sensible reform to occur within the Ministry of Health was to purchase medicines directly from international organisations and producers, eliminating intermediaries that traditionally in Ukraine add no value, but are simply used nefariously to steal budget funds.

Whilst Ms Bohatyriova and Alexander Yanukovych, both allegedly prime beneficiaries of such scams within the Ministry of Health, are no longer in Ukraine seeking to avoid due process/justice, not all of those whose acts were more than preparatory to the commission of such crime, and indeed were active accomplices in such crime, have left Ukraine.  Nor sadly, have they left their positions and roles within the Ukrainian health system – be those roles direct or indirect.

The blog having previously attempted to raise awareness over the ever-increasing attempts to muddy, clutter, pollute and/or antagonise the domestic civil society space, notwithstanding the obvious dubious NGOs such as Firtash’s “Agency for the Moderisation of Ukraine” (AMU), or Medvedchuk’s “Ukrainian Choice”, Messrs Kuchma, Pinchuk, Nefjodov et al, will throw, and are throwing, entities into the NGO soup too.  An oligarchical fight back within the now very influential domestic civil society space is perhaps underway.

Thus it becomes evermore necessary to understand who sits behind and/or funds/heavily donates to civil society entities and the specific causes/sections of society they purport to represent.  Likewise the relationships of the nefarious, odious and scandalous to those leading civil society entities is occasionally worth a little investigation too.

Only last week the National Medical Chamber, an NGO with 69,000 doctors throughout a network of 25 regional offices, decried the attempts of other NGOs to reverse the current policy of avoiding intermediaries in procurement of drugs.

Yet such NGOs as MedKontrol, are associated with people such as former Health Minister Bohatyriova and clearly lobby on behalf of “nefarious schemes past” and the avoidance/delay in meeting EU standards and mechanisms for registration of medicines – Satire perhaps demands that warning labeling of “health care” NGOs be applied no differently to the labeling upon medicines themselves.

Warning on prescription bottle about nitrates and erective disfunction tablets

With so many positives being orated and written regarding Ukrainian civil society – and rightly so, for it will lead Ukraine to a better place despite the political class – it is perhaps timely once again to remind readers of the creeping oligarchisation and criminalisation into the civil society space by the vested interests against which the vast majority of Ukrainian civil society has taken into battle.

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