AIDS, TB still national security threat in Ukraine, says NSDC secretary
The epidemics of AIDS and tuberculosis remain a threat to national security in Ukraine and require redoubled efforts to treat and prevent these diseases, Secretary of National Security and Defense Council Andriy Kliuyev said.
Commenting on two bills submitted by the Cabinet of Ministers to the Verkhovna Rada concerning Ukraine's cooperation with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, he said that the proposed documents are intended to step up cooperation with the Global Fund, and to simplify the procedures and reduce the time for supplying medications to patients.
"Ukraine very much wants to cooperate with the Global Fund, whose policies in recent years were aimed at supporting government systems for fighting AIDS and tuberculosis. The grant support offered to Ukraine could be a tangible contribution to the reform of the national healthcare system," the press service of the National Security and Defense Council quoted Kliuyev as saying on Thursday.
According to him, the number of AIDS patients in Ukraine is increasing annually. Over 120,000 people with HIV and nearly 19,000 patients with AIDS were registered in Ukraine as of the beginning of 2012. According to expert estimates, the total number of HIV carriers is much higher than the officially reported figures, the NSDC secretary said.
He said that in the past 25 years, nearly 25,000 Ukrainians have died of AIDS.
"Despite the fact that the number of TB cases has not increased that over the past two years and the mortality rate is falling, the epidemic of tuberculosis, which was registered in Ukraine in 2005, is still continuing. The number of sick people exceeds the epidemiological threshold by two or three times. This is unacceptable," Kliuyev said.
The NSDC secretary said the state should explore every avenue to minimize the sickness rate and create conditions for the treatment and prevention of dangerous diseases, adding that the grants of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are valuable support for Ukraine.
As reported, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine submitted to the Verkhovna Rada two bills proposing to exempt from taxes and duties all transactions connected with the use of grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Ukraine.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has provided grants totalling $326 million to Ukraine to fight HIV infection and AIDS in recent years.