Ukraine is not disbanding any infectious diseases hospitals. It is phasing out some Covid departments as coronavirus cases continue to decrease significantly in the country and ever fewer people require hospitalization. However, in the event of a future surge, Ukraine’s Health Ministry and National Health Service are developing a hospital reaction readiness plan to counter Covid-19.
A number of news resources are disseminating claims that infectious diseases hospitals are being disbanded in Ukraine. The publications argue that with reduced funding for infectious diseases hospitals, the facilities will become unusable and will be disbanded. This is happening against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of new more infectious strains of the coronavirus. Some sites groundlessly report that Ukraine is going to shut down 70% of the infectious diseases wards in the country.
Claims that infectious diseases hospitals and wards are being closed are a manipulation of the actual situation on the ground. Covid departments set up as a response to the pandemic in Ukraine are in fact being gradually phased out due to the significant decrease of infection rates, with ever fewer people requiring hospitalization.
Speaking to the Liga.net newspaper National Health Service lead press officer Lilia Hudz-Kulikovska explained that the reason Covid departments were being phased out is that hospitals that changed their orientation purely towards combatting the coronavirus stopped providing care to patients with other illnesses. Currently there is a real risk of underdiagnosed cancers and cardiovascular diseases, funds are not utilized most efficiently and hospitals with Covid wards often result in infections of other patients hospitalized with other illnesses, said Hudz-Kulikovska.
Subsequently Ukraine’s Health Ministry is preparing an updated organizational map of Covid hospitals. They will be divided into three groups, the first group intended for critical patients is to be equipped with eight ventilators and staffed with eight anesthesiologists. When these hospitals are over 80% full, patients will be admitted to the second group of facilities, equipped with four ventilators and staffed with four anesthesiologists.
In a statement published on the Health Ministry’s official social media page, the Ministry assures that despite the disbanding of certain Covid wards, “not a single patient, now or in the future, will be left without help”. The National Health Service published a similar announcement.
In the event of a new wave of Covid infections, the Ukraine’s Health Ministry together with the National Health Service is developing a hospitals’ preparedness model to counter COVID-19. Due to the danger of the new Delta strain of the coronavirus spreading in Ukraine, the National Security and Defense Council determined that it was necessary to strengthen the willingness of medical institutions to provide medical care to patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in case of mass infections.