Struggle for life or for office: resistance of acting Health Minister Suprun

Author : Ihor Rymskyi

Source : 112 Ukraine

General Director of the Heart Institute Todurov publicly accused the leadership of Ukraine's Health Ministry of the mass deaths of Ukrainians
18:03, 27 January 2017

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Ukraine witnesses battle for the post of Minister of Health. Last Friday member of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, MP Igor Shurma said that the Cabinet began a discussion of relevant candidates. However, according to our sources in  "Block of Petro Poroshenko," none of the candidates has the required number of votes of people's deputies.

Uliana Suprun… Why not?

A new round of talks about the change of the head of the Health Ministry started after a scandal, the official speakers of which became well-known heart surgeon Boris Todurov and Acting Minister of Health Uliana Suprun. Todurov publicly accused the leadership of the Ministry of the mass deaths of Ukrainians.

"You have failed to carry out this procurement (of medicines for people with heart deceases) for 364 million UAH. I absolutely responsibly declare (and I can repeat it in court) that your negligence took more lives of Ukrainians than the war in recent years," Todurov said. Many politicians did not like such sharp statements.

Ministry of Health acknowledged that tenders for the purchase of drugs were announced only at the end of 2016.

Related: Why Ukraine's health care system does not work?

For its part, Prime Minister Groisman voiced his supportive position concerning Suprun, at the same time adding that associated Minister should listen to criticism in her address.

"I understand that many people have criticized our actions, perhaps they had some good intentions. So I would ask the Ministry of Health to listen to these people and understand the problem. If these problems can be solved at the level of ministries and the government, we are ready to support them," said the head of government.

Related: Groysman: Cabinet soon to present new healthcare system

However, our sources in "Block of Petro Poroshenko" and "Popular Front" pointed out that the main reason for criticism of Suprun was the Ministry of Health acts to attract foreign structures to the procurement of medicines and reduction of the impact on the industry of health lobby in the Parliament. Our interlocutors say that the main initiator of the campaign was pharmacological lobby, adding that its representatives are in BPP and in the "Opposition bloc", represented by Igor Shurma.

Related: Health Ministry to offer creation of Ukraine’s National Health Service

Among Parliament lobbyists there are chairman of the Health Committee Olga Bogomolets, former head of the Committee Tatiana Bakhteeva, pharmaceutical company "Darnitsa" owner and a friend of Lutsenko Hlib Zahoria.

"Imagine that you have mastered the billions of hryvnias, and now someone wants to remove  you from them. Of course, you will strongly resist," our interlocutors explain.

One of the former Health Ministers noted that maintaining Suprun will allow to procure through international organizations. And Suprun believes that the scandal will not affect her appointment as a minister.

Testing Suprun

The Parliament again spoke about the appointment of a full-fledged Minister of Health. Member of the Health Committee, Igor Shurma said that the government has initiated a discussion of the candidates for the post of head of the agency.

Related: Healthcare Ministry starts purchasing medicines and vaccines via international organizations

"Tell me, when will you have the candidacy?" MP asked the government representatives. For its part, First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv declined to answer the question about a possible date for the vote, adding that "Uliana Suprun is open for discussion."

According to our sources in the presidential administration, consultations on the appointment of the new head of the ministry have really began, and there are two candidates, who were rejected by the medical lobby.

However, Bankova does not have any serious candidates, except Suprun, as her actions are supported by the first vice-premier Stepan Kubiv.

"Suprun appointed for a probationary period. After case of Kvitashvili (former Health Minister Alexander Kvitashvili) we decided to play it safe. Everything will depend on the results of her work," added our source.

Related: Health procurement to be made through international organization

Suprun was appointed associated Minister July 27 last year, and proceeded with the duties August 1st.

At the same time, our sources in the "Block Petro Poroshenko" believe that despite the fact that Suprun is supported by Bankova, she might not be appointed Minister.

"People near to the president, of course, say that they support Suprun, but they may also give way to the medical lobby, as the head of state has no personal interest," noted our interlocutors.

Related: Cabinet approves concept of health care reform

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