Our Perspective

Only reforms can raise Ukraine’s human development index

13 Apr 2017

image With a Human Development Index of 0.743, Ukraine is now at the 84th place out of 188 countries and territories – down from the 81th place in 2015. This reflects reality in a country which has an armed conflict on its territory and is struggling to modernize its economic, political and social institutions.

Originally published in Ekonomichna pravda on 13 April 2017 Last week, UNDP Ukraine presented the Human Development Report 2016. The good news is that Ukraine remains among the “high development countries,” with some improvements like increase of longevity or time spent in education. The bad news is that Ukraine’s human development ranking downgraded, and is now one of the lowest in the region, and overall in Europe. With a Human Development Index of 0.743, Ukraine is now at the 84th place out of 188 countries and territories – down from the 81th place in 2015. This reflects reality in a country which has an armed conflict on its territory and is struggling to modernize its economic, political and social institutions. But what is even more important, the report reconfirms that there is no way back in reforms. Any further delay to address the problems of the country will only deteriorate living conditions for Ukrainians. The Human Development Report is like a photo of a person, or using a better metaphor, a body’s X-ray.  It gives a picture that can help establish a diagnosis and identify a cure – with an emphasis on the “human” aspects. The story of this report began  Read More

Neal Walker: Can health care reform succeed in Ukraine?

11 Apr 2017

image The United Nations will continue to strongly support reforms, anti-corruption efforts and positive changes in the country. Two years ago, the Government with the United Nations and the international community launched an international program to procure critical medicines for the country. Since that time millions of dollars were saved and vitally needed drugs were delivered in time to Ukrainian patients.

Originally published in Kyivpost on 3 April 2017 "If there is one reform in Ukraine that can really change Ukrainian society – a game changer for the whole of the country – it is health care reform. Yes, other reforms are enormously important too – from pension reform to anti-corruption to reform of education. Yet, for every person, there is a moment in life when health is critical, always when we are old, but often when we are surprisingly young, such as for wounded veterans or when unexpected illness strikes. Furthermore, quality health care and a healthy lifestyle for young people creates a stronger, smarter society that is more productive throughout the life cycle. Whenever health problems hit, whether we are young or old, all other problems become secondary and we need only one thing in the world – accessible, effective, high quality medical help provided by an efficient health system. Unfortunately, Ukraine is an example of how badly a system can function, not only in the region, but beyond. When we enter an average Ukrainian district clinic or an ordinary hospital, we can expect a lack of basic medical equipment, patients often must bring their own drugs, food and even  Read More

Mine action: reducing risks, improving safety

04 Apr 2017

image Photo: © Martin Oubrecht The presence or suspicion of landmines and unexploded ordnance is impacting on civilians’ lives, restricting agriculture, inhibiting basic sustenance activities and disrupting essential infrastructure and services in many parts of the Donbas region.

by Martin Oubrecht, UNDP Field Security Specialist The General Assembly of the United Nations on Dec. 8, 2005, declared April 4 the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. It called for continued efforts by member states, with the assistance of the United Nations and relevant organizations, to foster the establishment and development of national mine-action capacities in countries where mines and explosive remnants of war constitute a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of the civilian population, or an impediment to social and economic development at the national and local levels. Ukraine has been unfortunately impacted by an armed conflict in the eastern part of the country. The conflict has had a widespread impact on the civilian population. The presence or fear of landmines and unexploded ordnance impacts civilians’ lives, restricting agriculture, inhibiting basic sustenance activities, and disrupting essential infrastructure and services in many parts of the Donbas region. After shelling, mines, explosive remnants of war (ERW), booby traps and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are the second-most common cause of fatalities and injuries to civilians. This underlines the critical importance of mine action in Ukraine. UNHCR reports indicate that between February 2015 and February 2017, there  Read More

UNDP Ukraine experience: what can we do to improve public procurement in the health sector?

14 Mar 2017

image It was key to establish clear and direct communication about the procurement services and reform that we supported. The communication strategy we developed used different approaches: from dissemination of infographics and videos, to the organization of press tours and press briefings for journalists, with a focus on maintaining media relations with key media outlets.

What do we know about modern Ukraine? Of course, it’s a big European country known for its lush landscape and warm hospitality. At the same time, this is also a country facing a military conflict in the East, occupation of its territory, and over a million of internally displaced people, all this while in economic recession. Despite all this, the government of Ukraine cannot afford not to push through much needed reforms, and has listed healthcare reform as one of its priorities. In 2015, anti-corruption organizations and patients’ groups successfully lobbied for a new piece of legislation, allowing public procurement of health products through international organizations. This was an emergency measure to deal with a situation where life-saving medicines had been missing from public hospitals due to the inefficiencies of public health procurement. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine therefore requested UNDP to support the procurement and distribution of health products related to eight different State Health Programmes (for the 2015 procurement cycle) and 23 State Health Programmes (for the 2016 procurement cycle).  At the time, UNDP Ukraine had a small health-related team, but recognized the stringent necessity of such assistance to the government to solve the immediate crisis, while at  Read More