Following the example of the CDC: Ukraine creates a new service to combat epidemiological threats
Today, the whole world is struggling with the spread of COVID-19. In Ukraine, as in most EU countries, the number of infected is also growing. We have some improvements in countering COVID-19, such as low fatalities, but there are also failures. A modern epidemiological surveillance system must be established in the country to control coronavirus more effectively.
Ukraine is gradually integrating into the European community. We systematically abandon the Soviet legacy in various sectors of the economy and, using the experience of the EU and the United States, create a new, modern, effective model of governance. Reforming the epidemiological surveillance system is just an example of such a transformation.
A few years ago, the country had an outdated system of sanitary and epidemiological service. This model of governance worked successfully in Soviet times. But it has been inefficient for many years as it is not in line with the current state of affairs.
We began to look for examples of the optimal system of infection control around the world. After analyzing the most successful of them, we chose at the American CDC. By the way, similar services operate in the European Union, as well as in other developed countries.
In 2017, the sanitary-epidemiological service in Ukraine was liquidated. Its functions were divided between various government services and agencies. Subsequently, we began working with CDC experts to gradually, step by step, create a new epidemiological surveillance service.
The American CDC consists of divisions that develop disease prevention measures. They analyze statistics, conduct research, develop public health programs, and inform people on how to combat infectious threats.
The pandemic has forced us to speed up the process and move faster from theory to practice. We have developed the basic principles of the new service. It will deal with epidemiological surveillance, monitoring, emergency response, disease prevention, and outreach among the population.
Branches of the new service will be established in each region of the country. They should also deal with local problems such as water pollution, disease outbreaks among certain social groups, environmentally hazardous activities of enterprises.
Another important issue is the staffing of the new service. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of specialists in the country: there lack 48% of epidemiologists and 41% of virologists. Therefore, our priority is to increase the number of students in medical schools majoring in such fields as “public health”, “epidemiology” and “hygiene”. They will later join the ranks of the new service.
Of course, it is not easy to create a new epidemiological surveillance service during a pandemic. Nevertheless, it is a task we must accomplish. Ukraine cannot exist with the remnants of the Soviet system. Thanks to our partners in the EU and the US, we are gradually, step by step, transforming Ukraine into a modern, European state.