Russia Will Give Donbass $3 Million for Cancer and Diabetes Medicines

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The Secretariat of the World Health Organization (WHO) prepared a “project proposal” on how Russia will help the health of Donbass. This is stated in a letter to the Foreign Ministry, which on 15th November was sent to the Ministry of Health (Life has a copy).

According to the project, Russia will deliver to Donbass “medicines for patients with diabetes and oncological diseases, means for surgery, and ensuring the work of medical laboratories, vaccination of children etc”.

As was stated in the letter of the Ministry, “the project has a budget of $3.1 million (198.7 million rubles at the current exchange rate) based on 18 months.” More precisely, at the end of 2016 to early 2018. It is assumed that then it will be possible to extend the project for another two years. “It is expected that 80,000 people living on the uncontrolled-by-Kiev territories will be direct beneficiaries,” it is said in the letter.

At the same time, earlier, Russia and the UN discussed other options of assistance to Donbass (as Life was told). United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Michel Kazatchkine asked during a meeting with the Russian Foreign Ministry in May to help the population of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in the treatment of HIV and tuberculosis.


But now, “the overall context of the WHO project implies the complex participation of Russia in the restoration of the health systems of Donbass, and differs from our initial agreement with the UN about the focus being solely on the aspects of the fight against HIV/AIDS,” reads the letter. It is noted that a key role is still played by the global fund in the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers “the orientation of Russian assistance in the broader context acceptable”, and requests the Ministry of Health to express its position.

“200 million roubles — it’s not a very big sum when compared to how much is needed to provide drugs to Donbass,” said Larisa Popovich, Director of the HSE Institute for Health Economics. For example, in Moscow (Russian region, comparable in size) about 26 billion rubles are spent on drugs from the budget each year. So compare. Of course, in the framework of humanitarian action this money must be given, and no gaps in our budget in this regard will form.

Aleksey Maschan, Deputy Director of the Federal Scientific Clinical Centre of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Immunology named after Dmitry Rogachev, noted that there isn’t always enough financing also for the treatment of Russian cancer patients.


“It, rather, concerns the provision of infrastructure, bandages, consumables, and so on,” he said. And this problem needs to be solved.

While earlier, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of  the “Movement against Cancer” Nikolay Dronov said that in the regions there is not enough money also for medicines for cancer patients. According to him, sometimes it happens that regional officials can’t purchase enough anaesthetics, and tell head physicians not to prescribe medications, but to “invented” something. As a result, critically ill people are simply refused anaesthetics under various pretexts.

At the same time, we must help Donbass, said Aleksey Maschan. According to him, in the center of Dmitry Rogachev “several children were treated from there.”

“It is impossible to convey the horror they have experienced there,” he said. “$3 million, for our budget, is a small amount, but it can help the children of Donbass.”

In the framework of humanitarian aid convoys, Russia — along with medical equipment, food, baby food, hygiene products — sends to Donbass medicines for ambulances and hospitals. On November 24th, the 57th humanitarian aid convoy was sent. In two years the South-East of Ukraine has received no less than 64,000 tons of humanitarian aid.

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