Moderated talk “Virus effect: health, politics, economics”

On March 5, the Aspen Institute Kyiv held a moderated talk “Virus effect: health, politics, economics,” where were discussed medical and scientific facts about the new virus, its treatment and prevention measures, administrative effects, and communication peculiarities of fighting with the pandemic. Also were touched topics on consequences for Ukrainian and global economic.

Participants of the discussion warned about over panic around coronavirus because there is no reason for such reaction.

Kateryna Bulavinova, infectionist, medical expert of UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine, mentioned that ordinary flu, to which Ukrainians are used to, is much more dangerous and causes more fatal cases in opposition to the quantity of potentially infected by a coronavirus in Ukraine. Also, the infectionist advises not to visit a doctor with the very first cold and flu symptoms because such behavior causes additional conditions to catch another illness and impede doctors’ work. In case of symptoms are better to consult with a doctor by phone, don’t self-treat with variety of antiviral drugs. The most effective ways to prevent the illness are very simple regularly and systematically wash hands, ventilate a room, and try to follow doctors’ recommendations neatly.

Andriy Skipalskyy, Chief Director of Directorate of public health at Ministry of Healthcare, noted that Ukraine is one of the first countries that work out detailed plans of action on all authorities’ levels due to prevent and fight the pandemic. These plans were based on protocols and algorithms WHO. The project foresees different levels of pandemic and coordinated actions of authorities due to it. Such readiness also approved Oleksandr Zarytskyy, Director of Region center of public health at Zhytomyr region council, who took part in the event. Andriy Skipalskyy, also said the there is a Governmental office to resist coronavirus, the activity of which is one of priority for the Government of Ukraine. System of monitoring and screening allows us to take the situation with the invasion of illness under control: at this moment, all risks sources are known and maintaining.

Anastasia Nurzhynska, the expert on communication, researcher of social and behavioral changes at London School of Economics, stressed on надзвичайній importance of positive narratives regarding coronavirus fighting. At the same time, this is not about hiding or bend information about the real state. According to the expert, communication shouldn’t be express in a negative key, but using the success story and positive examples. For instance, do not focus on how many heads of regions in Ukraine refused to accept evacuees from China (there are only few of them), but how many were ready to host our tourists. Such a positive frame of the narrative around the pandemic will help acquire information steady, act rationally, and not panic. Moreover, Anastasia advised media to give doctors’ a word and support wider spreading balanced medical information.

The moderator of the talk was Denys Poltavets, Director of Program Development at the Aspen Institute Kyiv.

We are grateful to speakers and participants of the event for their meaningful performances and openness to dialogue.

Recorded talk watch on our Facebook page by the link.


The discussion was held within the Good Governance Program.

Good Governance Program is being developed with the support of Luminate.