In 2010 healthcare reform has started in Ukraine. At the pilot regions (Vinnytska, Dnipropetrovska and Donnetska oblasts and Kyiv city) primary healthcare has been developing very fast. Although the reform might have solved many perennial problems of Ukrainian healthcare system, the process, in our opinion, remains more formal rather than target-oriented. As a result, a lot of myths appeared about the reform, many of which are just a result of poor communication with stakeholders.
School counselors, whose primary responsibilities include help in career management, i.e. choosing future profession and university, are common in many countries. Ukrainian schools fail to pay proper attention to the question of career management, this concerns not just help in choosing profession, but especially the higher education institution. Ukrainian legislation prescribes schools to have psychologists and/or social educators, however, they do not deal with the questions of university choice. What is being undertaken in Ukraine on governmental level and on local initiatives level to attract school graduates to Ukrainian universities?
We often hear that our university teachers are poor, that teaching materials are outdated, classrooms need renovation, etc. “The problem is insufficient funding” – you might say: “the state is not financing higher education well enough.” In fact, Ukraine takes one of the leading positions in the world in terms of funding higher education, allocating more than 2% of GDP annually. Moreover, the level of private funding, that is, fees paid by ‘contract’ students, is also not lagging behind the world level, accounting for 0.7% of GDP.
Over the last twenty years education system of Ukraine did not see any reforms. The key weaknesses of the system are limited autonomy of educational institutions, inefficiency and corruption. All these problems are interrelated and lead to worsening of the education quality. In 2010 the President economic reform program launched a new attempt to reform education system and the main focus of the reform was to strengthen the competitiveness of Ukrainian education. However, after two years of reformation efforts in this area results look very contradictory.
In 2011 Ukraine launched a large-scale reform of primary healthcare. Our country was seriously delayed with implementing family healthcare system compared to other Central and Eastern Europe countries, which started reform in the ‘90s, and even compared to some CIS countries which joined the trend in the ‘00s. As we see from this experience, reforming primary healthcare is time-consuming and success is not secured. Nevertheless, example of Estonia showed that real progress can be achieved even with that challenging task.
Already two years have passed since the day Viktor Yanukovich announced new reformation course and presented Economic reform program 2010-2014 «Prosperous society, competitive economy, effective state». The ambitious plan outlined considerable changes in economic system and even in case the plan was partially implemented, Ukraine could reach another level of development. A Coordinative Center for Economic Reforms had been created at the President Office and active work had started. However, after two years of active changes and contradictory results a question arose – what, out of all implemented measures, was indeed for good and deserves to be called «reforms».
The health-care reform gained momentum in 2011. For the first year of the reform implementation it is subjected to the fierce criticism by public. In the comics-presentation that is based on the report “Health-care reform: taking first hard steps” we talk about why the reforms are needed, the results of the first years of the reforms and whether public should attempt to stop unpopular reforms.
The ongoing health care reforms are one of the most exposed to criticism among the long list of reforms currently conducted by the government. In fact, the reforms is a step in right direction, also the changes are sometimes painful and hard. A refusal to run the unpopular reforms means further degradation of health care system in Ukraine. However, the rush with some changes during the first phase in the reform process under conditions of limited human resources and funds causes inconveniences and risks for people without any noticeable improvement in quality of health care services. The key prerequisites for the reforms to continue and succeed are achieving public consensus on the reforms; widening opportunities for high-quality training of family practitioners and their true motivation and adequate financing of the reforms.
It is normal for all plans to be revised and improved. However, the recently approved “National action plan 2012” looks like a step back. It dilutes or postpones for the future crucial reforms, aimed at strengthening of competitive environment and property rights. Among diluted reforms appeared to be the issue of inspections, housing reform and the problem of agro-land market. Technical reforms have been distorted not that dramatically, however, still are delayed.
A year and a half have already passed since the start of Viktor Yanukovich reform. The ambitious transformation plan has showed noticeable progress on many directions. However, so far none, including the authorities’ representatives, can call the reformation efforts successful. Properly outlined priorities and action plan stumbled on financial and political interests of various influential groups, what, naturally, stipulated for a large-scale ‘correction’ of the reform plan. Apparently every plan needs to be updated with time. However, comparative analysis of the new reform action plan showed that ‘reformators’ have already skipped many initially positive initiatives.