Ukrainian wounded soldiers struggle to receive state funds for necessary surgeries
The new technology of bone regeneration is now being introduced into medical practice in Ukraine. The unique concept that uses stem cells for creating fragments of bones, was last year included in the government prosthetics programme and was expected to receive over six million US dollars from the state budget.
However, for wounded Ukrainian soldiers needing limb surgeries it is not easy to make use of the official funding.
National guardsman Volodymyr Struk has served three rotations in eastern Ukraine fighting against Russian-backed separatist forces. After surviving some of the most intense battles, he was gravely wounded by a shell splinter.
Volodymyr decided to use the bone regeneration technology to save his leg, however, the surgery costing around twenty four thousand US dollars is fully covered by volunteers, and not by the state.
Oleksii Shershniov, project coordinator: "Ukrainian citizens by donating these funds have saved the state some three-four hundred million hryvnias in social allowances."
Field engineer Serhiy Mykhalchuk has tripped a mine in eastern Ukraine. His leg can be saved, but he needs twenty thousand US dollars to pay for the operation. Together with his wife, Serhiy desperately tries to get the state funding, as provided for in the programme.
Serhii Mykhalchuk, field engineer: "I need that surgery to be able to get a job and earn some money for my kid and wife. The wife doesn't have to make money for me. If the state doesn't help me, who will?"
The officials at the ministry of social policy say the bone regeneration is a new concept in Ukraine. Acts and decrees are yet to be developed and refined.
Oleksii Mokha, Head of Department of State Service for War Veterans: "If due to technicalities we cannot use the money for this project by the end of the year, we will allocate it for the prosthetics programmes for soldiers, and for raising the defence capabilities of our country."
According to official data, more than twenty thousand Ukrainians have been wounded since the war started in the east of the country.