Doctors in Shchastya: no money, just promises 

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2014/11/11 • War in the Donbas

Article by: Anastasiya Moskvychova

Doctors from Shchastya in Luhansk oblast have come out to protest: starting the summer the medics in the pre-front town have had no salaries. Meanwhile combat in underway nearby, the town suffers shelling, the wounded are being brought in. The Oblast State Administration claims that the they only managed to remove the hospital from the jurisdiction of Luhansk at the end of October. However, two months ago the previous administration had claimed that they would pay their debts within several weeks. 

The hospital personnel in the town of Shchastya in Luhansk oblast have not been receiving salaries for over four months – only promises from the officials to solve this problem in the nearest future, says head of the surgery department Volodymyr Karpinsky. According to him, this is the case with over 150 people. Some of them went to protest near the town council today – for the doctors in Shchastya to finally be heard, he says.

“Officials of various ranks have been coming to us and promising to solve all our problems within a week or two for two and a half months now,” the surgeon says. “It was written that Shchstya is part of the Zhovtnevy district of Luhansk, which pays out the money, allegedly separatist territory. But this is just ludicrous. Therefore we gathered to protest to day to show them that we are Ukrainians working on Ukrainian territory.”

According to the head doctor of the hospital Oleh Suprun, the hospital has been under the jurisdiction of the city department of health of Luhansk almost until the end of October, and it was supposed to have been financed from the city budget. Only after the Verkhovna Rada approved the according order, they managed to include it on the list of medical institutions subject to the Novoaydarivsky district of the same oblast, and the medics were recently payed their partial salaries for July, says Suprun.

“The administration of the town, district and hospital are doing everything in their power so that the people get their salaries. A new company was registered in Novoaydar, a new hospital, with new accounts. Today Novoaydar has to pay us partially for August, all the expenses, gasoline, so everything is going all right. I cannot see any reason for a protest now,” he notes.

OSA spokesman: the same situation in 18 localities of Luhansk oblast

800 thousand UAH have been given to cover the debt to the hospital in Shchastya for July and half of August, notes spokesman of the Luhansk OSA Yaroslav Halas to Radio Liberty. According to him, there are 18 localities in Luhansk oblast now under Ukraine’s factual control, however they were under administrative jurisdiction of the district centers occupied by the mercenaries until recently.

“For their financing, we had to add these several points to the Verkhovna Rada order (there were two on October 7) from districts that are occupied but are de facto controlled by Ukraine: several villages in Slovyanoserbsky district, several villages from Perevalsky,” Halas explains. “For example, Chornykhine, which is being shelled constantly, it is a huge village with a population of over six thousand, we had to transfer it to Popasnyansky district, though it never belonged there, and financing began: pensions, state workers.”

Despite the lack of financing, the hospital in Shchastya remains open. On the worst days, when it was the medical institution closest to the front, four surgery rooms worked there at the same time, doctors reminisce, however now there are more patients due to the weather than wounds.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Source: Radio Liberty

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