Kyiv medical institutions suffering large personnel loss, mayor says

16 October 2020

More than 7,000 medical workers have left their jobs from Kyiv institutions in the last nine months, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told an online press conference on Oct. 15. “Nearly half of them are technical staff. But unfortunately, there is an outflow of medical personnel,” he said. Many of the lost medics are those who fall into the COVID 19 risk group, he said. In addition, many medical school graduates have chosen careers beyond state institutions. For example, out of 557 nursing students who studied on state scholarships, only 207 went to work in state institutions in 2020. He said a similar situation exists with doctors. As a result, there are about 7,500 medical vacancies at Kyiv’s state institutions, he said. “In today’s situation, we risk undermining the medical system through an absence of qualified personnel. And any personnel at all. There is the same situation, for example, in the education sphere. We need to think and act systemically. We don’t have time for expectations or experiments,” Klitschko said, as reported by the news site.


More institutions in Ukraine are predicting COVID-19 infections to swell in the coming months. In particular, the Kyiv School of Economics presented a study on Oct. 15 stating the possibility that if the current situation doesn’t change, the infection rate will double to 10,000 new cases daily by November in what would be a worst-case scenario. “The burden on the medical system will be maximal and it will be withheld only in the case in which complex measures are introduced in those regions with active eruptions,” said Yuriy Hanychenko, the senior researcher at the department of economic and political research at the Kyiv School of Economics. Meanwhile, on Oct. 1, Jarno Habicht, the WHO representative in Ukraine, told the news site that he expects the infection rate to swell to between 7,000 and 9,000 daily.


New infections of the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus set a new daily record of 5,992 cases on Oct. 15, Ukraine’s health ministry reported this morning. That’s compared to 5,062 on Oct. 14 and 5,590 on Oct. 13. Meanwhile, 106 patients died on Oct. 15, compared to 73 on Oct. 14 and 107 on Oct. 13. An estimated 866 patients were hospitalized on Oct. 15, compared to 679 on Oct. 14 and 799 on Oct. 13. COVID-19 patients are occupying 22,240 hospital beds nationally out of 52,000 available, or 42.8%, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said this morning. State institutions can’t offer more beds owing to other illnesses that need to be treated, he said, so mobile and temporary hospitals are currently being considered.


Zenon Zawada: The mass resignations of medical personnel is disturbing news on the heels of last week’s Associated Press report of the Lviv region catastrophically lacking medical doctors. However, it comes as no surprise as Ukrainian medical workers are quite talented, yet their working conditions are poor, especially when it comes to having access to COVID-19 preventive equipment at institutions (in addition to their low salaries and overburdened schedules). For the last decade, many medical workers have been simply entering related professions, or joining private institutions, whether in Ukraine, but more often abroad.


It’s such labor market trends that are playing a role (not necessarily the dominant one) in prompting leading institutions to expect the COVID infection rate to swell even further in the coming weeks. If it goes so far as to double, that will put Ukraine as among the global leaders of COVID infections (among the Top 10 potentially) and further harm any economic and investment activity going into the new year. It will further harm Ukraine’s already negative image for foreign investment (owing to the war in Donbas and lack of structural reforms).

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