Ukrainian blogger Serhii Hula continues to spread false reports and claims that there is no law that prohibits children from attending school without vaccinations. According to him, mandatory preventive vaccinations violate children’s right to education. Also, a video is circulating on the Internet, where a resident of Kherson claims that the health care system in Ukraine is corrupt, and services are paid, including tests and medical examinations.
With the support of the USAID Health Reform Support project, VoxCheck analyzes and refutes public health narratives spread in the information space of Ukraine, Belarus, and russia on a weekly basis.
Disinformation: There is no law that prohibits children from attending educational institutions without vaccination
Ukrainian blogger Serhii Hula declares that, according to the order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, children without vaccination will not be able to study offline in schools. According to Hula, there is allegedly no law that would prohibit unvaccinated children from attending schools. The Ministry’s orders are allegedly “illegal” and violate the unconditional right to education. In addition, Hula says that parents are not obliged to bring certificate No. 063/o to school, because it is a “disclosure of medical secrets.”
What’s the reality?
First, Serhii Hula spreads false statements about attending schools without vaccination. According to the Law of Ukraine “On the Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases“, children are admitted to educational and other institutions with a certificate after a medical examination, which records all the child’s vaccinations. The law clearly states that children who have not received vaccinations according to the vaccination calendar are prohibited from visiting children’s institutions.
According to the approved calendar of preventive vaccinations, children need to be vaccinated against 7 groups of diseases in the first 18 months of life and from 2 to 16 years of age. At the same time, there are certain contraindications to preventive vaccinations. In particular, this is an allergic reaction to the previous dose of the vaccine, immunodeficiency or acute diseases with a temperature above 38°C. There is also an exception for the vaccination of children: if prophylactic vaccinations were given late due to medical contraindications in a normal epidemiological situation, the child can be admitted to full-time education based on the decision of doctors.
Secondly, the Law of Ukraine “On Education” states that a person has the right to receive education in various forms — face-to-face or distance learning. Therefore, parents can choose distance education for a child who does not have all preventive vaccinations.
The head of the immunoprophylaxis department of the Poltava Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Olena Asaul, says that for safe training, it is recommended that vaccination coverage be about 95%. Asaul notes that most parents refuse to vaccinate their children due to personal considerations and religious beliefs.
The Public Health Center reports that the level of preventive vaccination coverage in Ukraine for 7 months of 2023 against some diseases does not reach the required 56%. The World Health Organization notes that in order to combat measles outbreaks, the level of vaccination coverage should be 95%.
Source: Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine
Serhii Hula baselessly claims that certificate No. 063/o regarding children’s vaccinations is a “disclosure of a medical secret.” In fact, the patient has the right to secrecy about his health condition, the fact of seeking medical help, the diagnosis, as well as information obtained during his medical examination. It is also prohibited to request and provide information about the patient’s diagnosis and treatment methods at the place of work or study. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine emphasizes that a medical secret is a referral to a doctor or a diagnosis, while a vaccination certificate does not contain such data.
Serhii Hula is a Ukrainian lawyer who spread fakes about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination on his YouTube channel. The blogger also tried to denigrate the health care system in Ukraine and said that the introduction of electronic medical cards will lead to the fact that people will be involved in experiments without their permission.
After all, with such statements, Serhii Hula is trying to discredit the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, which allegedly does not allow children to study without vaccinations. While the blogger himself systematically spreads fakes and plays along with the Kremlin’s narrative.
Disinformation: Medicine in Ukraine is corrupt, and most medical services are paid
A video in which a resident of Kherson talks about her experience visiting a children’s hospital, while comparing Russian and Ukrainian medicine, is being shared online. She claims that the healthcare system in Ukraine is corrupt, and services are paid. While in Russian hospitals “you can see all the doctors in one day”, it is completely free of charge, and in medical facilities in the occupied territories, you do not need to pay for tests and medical examinations either.
Screenshot of the post
What’s the reality?
With the help of the PimEyes photo people identification tool, we found the author of the video, her name is Svitlana. On August 12, 2022, she, a migrant from Kherson, got into a language scandal in Lviv, calling a boy who asked why her friend’s daughter spoke Russian. The woman posted a video on her Tiktok page, which she later deleted. The video was reposted by another user.
At the end of July 2023, Svitlana began publishing videos from the occupied city of Skadovsk, complaining about Ukrainian medicine and praising medicine in the territories captured by Russia. The woman published the video, which was shared on the Internet, on August 23. Also, on Svitlana’s TikTok page, she does not use the word “war”, instead she uses the word “chaos”, blames the Ukrainian military for the murders in Mariupol, and rejoices at the arrival of Russian occupation troops.
The information that medicine in Ukraine is fully paid is not true. Since 2018, under the Program of Medical Guarantees, the government annually allocates funds to cover packages of medical services in various directions. In particular, in 2023, the National Health Service of Ukraine allocated over UAH 142 billion for 39 packages of medical services. Among them, in particular, the main types of medical care: primary, specialized, highly specialized, emergency, palliative care and medical rehabilitation.
The budget provides coverage of medical services for the treatment of cancer patients: chemotherapy — 36,000 UAH, assistance to children with cancer — up to 131,000 UAH. Priority areas are pediatrics and obstetrics. The tariff for medical assistance during childbirth will amount to more than UAH 15,000. For babies, laboratory and instrumental tests, ophthalmological and audiological screening for premature babies, vaccination according to the schedule of preventive vaccinations, etc., are covered.
The Program of Medical Guarantees provides reimbursement for surgical operations for adults and children in hospital conditions, assistance for stroke, myocardial infarction. Also, you will not have to pay for medical supervision during pregnancy in an outpatient setting.
In addition, under the “Affordable Medicines” reimbursement program for which UAH 4.7 million was allocated, patients will be able to receive immunosuppressive drugs, test strips for insulin-dependent patients, and painkillers for palliative patients.
In 2018, compulsory medical examination — a regular examination of all population groups — was canceled in Ukraine. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine was informed that such an examination is ineffective and burdensome for doctors. Instead, the agency introduced regular free screenings for at-risk groups, specifically to identify the subset of people most likely to contract tuberculosis or HIV.
Patients who do not belong to the risk groups, if they have a declaration signed by their family doctor, can have free ultrasound diagnostics, mammography, cystoscopy, bronchoscopy, general blood analysis, urine analysis, analysis of cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood, as well as pass a test for detection of HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections. Internally displaced persons who have not yet made a declaration may not be denied primary assistance. A family doctor can already refer a person to a specialist in a narrow specialization.
In addition, electrocardiography, visual acuity, and hearing tests are free of charge. An appointment with a doctor of any specialty is free if there is a referral and on the condition that the medical institution has a contract with the National Health Service of Ukraine.
Statements about the catastrophic level of corruption in Ukrainian medicine are also false. Most of the implemented medical reforms are aimed at overcoming corruption in the healthcare system. Yes, the Medical Guarantee Program sets a fixed cost for medical services. And the reform adopted in 2017 changed the principle of financing medical institutions. Therefore, hospitals receive money not for the area and number of beds, but for the visit of each patient. The better medical workers provide services, the more patients there are, and, accordingly, the higher the salary.
In 2023, the minimum salary for a doctor will be at least 20,000 UAH, and for a nurse — at least 13,500 UAH. In May of the same year, the Cabinet of Ministers increased the minimum salary for medical personnel in the zone of active hostilities. Thus, doctors and pharmacists receive no less than UAH 28,000, nurses — UAH 18,000, junior medical workers — UAH 9,000.
In addition, corruption is a two-way process. That is why cases of extortion of bribes cannot be tolerated, you should contact the hotline of the National Health Service of Ukraine at number 1677 or file a complaint through an electronic form on the website of the service in the “For citizens” section. In the application, you need to indicate your data and the name, first name, and position of the doctor who demanded the bribe. If possible, you should also attach receipts, photos or videos of extortion.
This information piece was produced with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provided on behalf of the people of the United States of America. This article’s content, which does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, is the sole responsibility of Deloitte Consulting under contract #72012118C00001.
The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations