The period of transition in Ukraine has affected health care. Although there are many well-qualified doctors in Ukraine, equipment and medicine are in short supply. Medical care used to be free to everyone, but now fees may be charged.

 The nuclear explosion at Chernobyl exposed tens of thousands of people to high levels of radiation. Radiation causes cancer, blood diseases, stomach problems and genetic disorders. Every year the Ukrainian government sends groups of young people with radiation sickness to Europe, North America or the Caribbean for a few months, to reduce the level of radiation in their bodies.

Tobacco consumption is very high in Ukraine and usually starts at an early age. Smoking is estimated to be the cause of 43% of male deaths in the middle aged population due to lung cancer and tuberculosis.

 The National Centre for Health Education is actively involved in tobacco control in the country. The government has adopted a program for the prevention of diseases and the formation of healthy lifestyles for its population up to the year 2000. The medical journal, Your Health, published by the Ministry of Health in the Ukraine, regularly highlights the problems of smoking. The government uses the media extensively in its anti-smoking campaign.

Did you know? 

The Chernobyl explosion is said to be as destructive as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.