KIEV, March 12 (Xinhua) -- The Ukrainian government vowed to fight rare diseases by providing free medicines to patients starting from 2014, a senior health care official said Tuesday.
"Medications used to treat these diseases are unique and very expensive," Tatiana Bakhteeva, head of the committee on health, said, adding at least 30 percent of rare disease patients die in childhood.
Ukraine, which lacks official data on rare diseases, will create a list of such illnesses and register affected people to improve treatment, Bakhteeva said.
The Ukrainian authorities have been providing medicine to some 1,860 people suffering from such rare diseases as cystic fibrosis, Gaucher disease and hemophilia.
According to the World Health Organization, a rare disease is one that affects a small percentage of the population, ranging from 0.65 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,000.