Since 2015, Ukraine has been pursuing its most comprehensive health reform since independence, aiming to improve health outcomes of its citizens, increase efficiency, and provide financial protection from high out-of-pocket payments. This reform includes massive changes in health financing, decentralization, rationalization of institutional and government roles, procurement reform, changes to pharmaceutical management, and increased opportunities for private sector engagement in the health system. The reforms are directly linked to reducing corruption in and strengthening governance of the public health sector.
In support of this reform process, LHSS began working with the USAID mission in Kyiv and the Government of Ukraine to further the development of telemedicine. Telemedicine provides a promising opportunity to bolster transparency and efficiency in the sector, reduce opportunities for corruption, and expand Universal Health Coverage. Telemedicine - the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology - has increasingly been used to improve access to health services, and its use has accelerated with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s health sector leadership and front-line workers alike agree that the need to expand and strengthen telemedicine in a systematic manner has never been more urgent. Telemedicine is now a critical tool to maintain access to healthcare during the war and in the period of rebuilding that will follow.
To address challenges to expanding transparent and affordable access to quality services through telemedicine, LHSS is working closely with GOU counterparts and local partners to achieve the following objectives:
- Strengthen telemedicine governance and policies
- Advance access to telemedicine health services in an inclusive, sustainable manner
- Support the Government of Ukraine to define the role, functions, and governance architecture of telemedicine in the overall health system
- Help to ensure telemedicine strategy and principles align with the E-Health Development Strategy (2020), including aspects such as data quality and the stability of all e-Health systems and modules
- Identify and document gaps and challenges with telemedicine in Ukraine; assess possible solutions with in-country stakeholders
- Focus on equity to ensure services are reaching vulnerable populations
Ultimately, the activity will strengthen local capacity to sustain strong health system performance, supporting Ukraine’s health system reform with improved system governance, transparency, equity, and resilience — preparing Ukraine to rebuild its health system in the post-conflict environment.