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Ukraine: Healthcare Practitioner Innovation

As part of the Open World Leadership Center, a U.S. Congress exchange program for countries of the post-Soviet era, GlobalJax hosted a delegation of healthcare practitioners from Ukraine to learn best strategies about telehealth technologies and ways other innovations help to expand access to healthcare to rural regions. While in Jacksonville, delegates had policy meetings with several Members of Congress and Senate, including staff, to collaborate on best practices for building and implementing policies to take advantage of innovations in healthcare. They also met with Baptist Health Jacksonville to learn how telehealth technologies are used in emergency centers to streamline emergency care. Delegates met with University of Florida Health to share best practices in building training curricula for medical students and staff, and with nearby Georgia Partnership for Telehealth, as well as with Tift Regional Medical Center to gain insights into how telehealth technologies and other innovations help to expand access to healthcare to rural regions.

Currently, Ukraine is the last of the post-socialist countries to attempt to eliminate inefficient, low quality, Soviet-style medicine. The Constitution guarantees universal access to care but there is big gap between Constitutional promise and reality. Ukraine has one of the highest mortality rates in the world – annually, about 135,000 Ukrainians die of preventable causes. Immunization rates remain low, with only 30% of children fully immunized against measles, 10% against hepatitis B, and 3% against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. In some conflict areas, health personnel have been under systematic attack, drugs to treat chronic conditions, like diabetes or cancer, are in short supply, and health data is nonexistent or unreliable. Due to the costs, many patients postpone care until their conditions worsen, effecting overall health outcomes. Above all, a comprehensive reform of the healthcare system is in the works inclusive of basic health services as set according to international best practices for diagnostics and treatment.

To integrate towards European democracy, Ukraine aims to improve affordable access for high quality healthcare. This delegation will take steps to capitalize on the relationships they made in Northeast Florida and South Georgia to help create positive changes in the Ukrainian healthcare system.

Sources: CSIS

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