series event

​​Health care reforms in Ukraine: Maintaining progress towards UHC in times of crisis​

​​In this event, learn about Ukraine’s continued commitment to UHC through two specific case studies: strengthening primary healthcare and eliminating corruption in the pharmaceutical procurement process. ​

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The upheaval brought by war and other crises can present unique opportunities for major reform to social systems, including health. This was the case in the United Kingdom in 1948, when, in the wake of the Second World War, the National Health Service was introduced. The NHS was founded on the principles that services should be comprehensive, universal, and free at the point of delivery, and thus based on need rather than on capacity to pay. 

​​Ukraine too has aimed at ambitious health system reforms during times of crisis. As the 2014 war with Russia in the eastern Donbas region continued, a series of health system reforms were introduced in Ukraine in 2015 and launched two years later. Like other countries of the former Soviet Union, Ukraine had inherited the Semashko health care system which guaranteed universal free access to medical care. But the system was under-resourced, fragmented, and heavily dependent on specialist care. With no explicit mechanism to align the commitment to universal health coverage with available resources, rationing by service providers became widespread, including through the use of informal payments. The founding principles of the 2017 reforms included universality, financial protection, transparency, and accountability. Among their aims were to establish a single strategic purchasing agency, strengthen and modernise the primary health care system, and rid the system of longstanding corruption.

​​Despite significant progress, the continued success of these reforms is now at risk. Russia’s full scale-invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has devastated the health system, destroying facilities, disrupting supply chains, displacing millions, including many health care workers, and significantly devaluing Ukraine’s currency. Among this devastation, Ukraine has committed to persisting with its health system reforms and to prioritising recovery even while the war continues.

​​This event will provide an opportunity to discuss two specific case studies of 2017 reforms to Ukraine’s health care system - strengthening primary health care and eliminating corruption in the pharmaceutical procurement system. Presentations and discussions will focus on the progress made in these areas towards achieving Ukraine’s goal of universal health coverage, the ways in which these reforms have strengthened the Ukrainian health system’s resilience in the face of war, and the threats posed to these reforms by the war. Discussions will aim to identify recommendations for expanding and sustaining universal health coverage reforms in Ukraine. 

​​Chairs and Moderators



Introduction: Objectives and introduction of keynote speaker


Adrianna Murphy, Associate Professor, LSHTM

Keynote: Ukraine’s health reforms


Ulana Suprun, Ministry of Health Ukraine, 2016-2019

​Case Study 1: Strengthening Primary Health Care


Pavlo Kovtoniuk (Deputy Minister of Health Ukraine, 2016-2019)

​Panel Discussion 


  • Jarno Habicht, Head of WHO Ukraine
  • Pavlo Kovtoniuk, Dep Ministry of Health Ukraine, 2016-2019
  • Mark Hellowell, Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh


Kara Hanson, Professor and Dean of Faculty, LSHTM

Case study 2: Pharmaceutical system corruption


Inna Maslenchuk, Head of Health System Integration, Zipline 



  • Inna Maslenchuk
  • Prof Jillian Kohler, University of Toronto
  • Professor Martin McKee, LSHTM


Professor Dina Balabanova, LSHTM

Event notices

  • ​Please note there will be an informal reception taking place after the seminar in G90.  
  • Please note you can attend this event in person or you can join the session remotely.
  • This event is co-hosted by:
    • Chatham House
    • The President’s Fund of Ukraine
    • Health Systems Global Thematic Working Group on Fragile and Conflict-Affected States
    • WHO European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies
    • UA-UK Academic Diaspora Network
    • Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Ukraine
    • Center for Political Studies and Analysis 'Eidos'


Free and open to all. No registration required.


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