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That’s DOCTOR Ulana Suprun to You

That’s DOCTOR Ulana Suprun to You

Ukraine’s reform pro-cess is in a precarious state: the reformers are under constant attack from those who would wish the old (deeply corrupt and very profitable) system to remain in place. There can be no better ex-ample of this than the current situation sur-rounding Ukraine’s Acting Health Minister, Dr Ulana Suprun.

Let’s get things in proportion here. Suprun is, without doubt, one of the leading reform-ers in this country and in Ukraine’s Cabinet. However, on 5 February, a court in Kyiv’s Pechersk district upheld a complaint against her and she was effectively suspended from her duties. It has meant leaving the Minis-try she leads basically in limbo and unable to implement almost any action because the signature of the Minister is required for even the most basic of operations.
On 11 and 12 February, the Minister ap-peared in that same court where the complaint was made to defend herself against the claims brought by Radical Party MP Ihor Mosiychuk. Outside the court hun-dreds of people, many veterans of the conflict in Donbas, gathered to support Suprun and send a defiant message to the court and specifically MP Mosiychuk. Why so many veterans? Well, while Su-prun’s record of reform inside the Min-istry of Health is well-known, her earlier activities have endeared her and her hus-band Marko Suprun to the men and wom-en who have defended their country from Russia’s unprovoked aggression.
Yes, the Acting Minister has created, from scratch, a brand new healthcare system for Ukraine. Yes, millions of Ukrainians have signed up for this. Yes, she has spearheaded information campaigns and she has instigat-ed procurement systems that closed the space for corrupt people to profit from the nation’s purchases of medicines. Do you know what this husband and wife team did before that? They created an organisation called Patri-ot Defence, through which they identified and worked to rectif areas where Ukraine’s soldiers were dying for preventable reasons. They compiled reports on where time was being wasted in moving the wounded from the battlefield to triage areas, first aid centres, and hospitals, and recommended efficien-cies in this area. They offered free training on battlefield trauma medicine. They issued tens of thousands of NATO standard Indi-vidual First Aid Kits.
Dr Suprun was in the lobby of the Ukraine Hotel on 10 February 2014 working to save the lives of those who had been shot on neighbouring Institutska Street that day. She is not just the leader of the most rapidly re-forming Ministry in the country, she is a hero of Ukraine. Her suspension is a disgrace, and it comes as no surprise that the MP who brought about this matter, Mosiychuk, has been credibly accused (there is video evi-dence) of corruption.

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