July 13, 2018

Alliance successfully completed fifth cycle of Harm Reduction Academy in Kuala Lumpur

On 13 of July 2018 Alliance for Public Health graduated fifth group of alumni of Harm Reduction Academy, who completed the course in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Official award of certificates was conducted by the Ambassador of Ukraine to Malaysia Olexander Nechytailo.

«We highly appreciate the participation of the Embassy of Ukraine in Malaysia, as it is Ukrainian organization – Alliance for Public Health – who established and runs this very successful international course», – says course initiator Tetiana Deshko.

Alumni present various backgrounds: ministries of health of Ethiopia and Ukraine, police and judiciary of Kenya, civil society of Ethiopia, Uganda and Montenegro, municipality of Tbilisi, Vinnytsia parliament, human right advocates from Malaysia.

Organisers managed to involve to the Malaysia module leading experts on HIV and public health: dean of faculty of medicine of University of Malaya professor Adeeba Kamarulzaman, professor of Yale university Frederick Altice, representative of the Ministry of Health of Malaysia Doctor Fazida Yuswan, famous activist Edo Agustian from Indonesia.

Program alumni are known to achieve significant success in improving HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis programs among populations at risk and Alliance wishes all the best to its today alumni – awaiting for their achievements!

July 10, 2018

Training on prevention and first aid in case of drug overdose.

Alliance for Public Health is continuing raising the level of skills of implementers of prevention projects implemented in Ukraine with the support of the Global Fund. In June and July 51 social workers from 49 NGOs – Alliance sub-recipients, participated in two trainings: ‘Drug Overdose: prevention, recognition, first aid, use of Naloxone’.

During the trainings the participants developed practical skills of different models of counseling clients on the prevention of overdose and the use of Naloxone, the technique of conducting intra-muscular injections, identified the signs of overdose and the effects of opiates and stimulants on vital functions of the body, etc. One of the most striking training sessions has been the practical development of skills in providing emergency care in case of overdose. Invited professional instructors from the Center of Special Education have helped the participants to master their skills of carrying out pulmonary and cardiac reanimation in case of drug overdose in accordance with the modern international standard’s requirements, in particular by working out practical skills on special mannequins.

In addition to practical skills and theoretical knowledge, social workers have received the necessary informational materials!

Considering the importance of the subject of drug overdose, the video footage taken during the second training will form the basis of a short educational film, which you may find later on the Alliance website and on Facebook.

June 26, 2018

Witch Hunting in Ukrainian Drug Policy

On 26 June 2018, a performance campaign called Witch Hunt was held at noon opposite the building of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Participants of the campaign – people who use drugs, community leaders and human rights activists – conducted an improvised performance to draw attention of the government and the society to the repressive drug policy and the problems, which hundreds of thousands of drug-dependent people in Ukraine have to face every day.

The performance depicted a “witch hunt”, during which an “inquisitor” wearing a police cap, together with people resembling public officials and a judge, was trying to burn a “witch” – a person who uses drugs – on an improvised fire.

Hundreds of black balloons with bars drawn on them were released into the sky to commemorate the people whose lives were lost to the repressive drug policy.

On this day, similar street campaigns within the global Support. Don’t Punish campaign are held in 205 cities in 93 countries of the world

The main slogans, which were voiced during the campaign at the Cabinet of Ministers:

  • “We call the Government to abandon the policy of “war on drugs” = “witch hunt”
  • “People who use drugs have the same rights as all other citizens of Ukraine and should not fall victims of ungrounded allegations, myths and stereotypes’
  • “Ukraine should abandon ineffective and repressive drug policy”
  • “Possession of drugs for personal use with no intent to sell should be immediately decriminalized”
  • “Criminal prosecution of people who use drugs should be substituted with administrative sanctions”

During the performance, a relevant video was broadcast on the screen. There was also a music band “Fifth Trip” playing its songs. Through music, the players – young people who use drugs – protect their right to humane drug policy.

“It is the fifth year since the first street campaign was held on this day in Ukraine. Still we sadly observe that instead of responding to grave offenses, every day tens of thousands of law enforcers and millions of hryvnias from the state budget are spent on systematic criminal prosecution of thousands of drug-dependent people, who possess drugs for their personal use due to their chronic dependence! A whole army of prosecutors, judges and prison officers on a daily basis support this utterly ineffective repressive system of “countering illicit drug trafficking”, which is built based on the old Soviet approaches. Considering that our country strives for progressive changes, in particular in terms of human rights protection, we call the Ukrainian Government to stop the “witch hunt”, decriminalize drug dependent people and apply effective and progressive drug policies,” said Anton Basenko, leader of the Ukrainian Union of People Who Use Drugs (UkrPUD), who has a 20-year experience of drug use and who was one of the first patients of opoiod substitution treatment (OST) in Ukraine.

Only in 2017, Ukrainian courts sentenced almost 9 thousand people for “illicit possession of drugs”, over 6.6 thousand (or 73%) of them were convicted just for possession of drugs for their personal use in the amounts for which there is no criminal responsibility in most countries of the European Union. From the Soviet times of repressions, Ukraine has preserved a system of “narcological registration”, which stipulates unrestricted exchange of information about drug dependent people among doctors and law enforcer, which is a gross violation of the Constitution of Ukraine as well as a number of international conventions. This scandalous situation should be urgently changed, and first of all such problems should be raised for consideration of the Goverment. We hope that the “tongues” of this symbolic “inquisition fire” will “burn the feet” of Ukrainian public officials who are responsible for developing and implementing the state drug policy,” summarized Pavlo Skala, Director: Policy and Partnership at Alliance for Public Health and co-coordinator of the global Support. Dont Punish campaign in Ukraine.

On the same day, from 14:30 to 17:00 in Zhovten Cinema there was a series of documentary film screenings: A Day in the Life (about activists of the community of people who use drugs), Positive People (about the life of drug dependent people living with HIV and their daily struggles), and Fifth Therapy (social video based on a series of autobiographic novels by an Odesa poet, Stas Dombrovsky). All those films are dedicated to the topic of human rights and decriminalization of people who use drugs. They tell about the problems of such people and make an attempt to dispel the widespread myths about them.

Before the film screening, there was a press briefing, where authors and directors – Stas Dombrovsky, Sergiy Lysenko and Igor Kuzmenko – presented their films.

“It is not important how hard you fall, as long as you are alive, you can change everything and become a full-fledged person again, it is all in your hands that is what our film is about,” said Stas Dombrovsky, scriptwriter and featured actor in the Fifth Therapy.

The activities in Kyiv were carried out within the global Support. Don’t Punish campaign, which was simultaneously held in 205 cities in 93 countries of the world! In Ukraine, the campaigns were also held in Odesa, Poltava, Sumy and Ivano-Frankivsk. They were organized by the Ukrainian Union of People Who Use Drugs (UkrPUD) with support of the Alliance for Public Health, 100% Life Network, the Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ENPUD), Meridian NGO, Club Eney NGO, Shans NGO, Parus NGO, All-Ukrainian League Legalife as well as representatves of civil society, governmental and international organizations.

# # # #

The global Support. Dont Punish campaign is held on 26 June 2018 in 205 cities in 93 countries of the world. On this day, tens of thousands of civil society activists all over the world call the governments to stop the cruel and senseless war on drugs. Official website of 2018 campaign: http://supportdontpunish.org/day-of-action-2018/

In Ukraine, annual activities within the global Support. Dont Punish campaign are held since 2013.  Information about the last-year campaign is available at the website http://supportdontpunish.org/country/ua/day-of-action-ua-2017/

June 20, 2018

Andriy Klepikov has been elected as a member of IAS Governing Council

Andriy Klepikov, Executive Director of the Alliance for Public Health has been elected and confirmed to serve on the International AIDS Society (IAS) Governing Council as a member for the next four years.

On June 19 IAS announced the names of it’s Members who have been elected and confirmed to serve on the IAS Governing Council for the next four years:

Adaora Adimora, United States

Serge Paul Eholié, Côte d’Ivoire

Beatriz Grinsztejn, Brazil

Jennifer Kates, United States

Andriy Klepikov, Ukraine

Keletso Makofane, South Africa

Cristina Mussini, Italy

Nittaya Phanuphak, Thailand

Andriy Klepikov will represent in the Governing Council the European Region, in particular Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “It’s an honor for me to be elected to the IAS Governing Council ” – he noted after announcing the results of the elections. – I am grateful to all who supported my candidacy! Together, we will pursue ambitious goals and will strengthen the role of IAS in response to HIV/AIDS epidemic. As our immediate tasks I see the final stage of the preparation of the International AIDS Conference, which will be opened in a month, in Amsterdam. We need to achieve maximum results from this event! Also, I congratulate Kevin Osborne on his appointment as new Executive Director of the IAS, I will be happy to work together!”

International AIDS Society announces Kevin Osborne as its new Executive Director. With more than 30 years of public health experience and a deep portfolio of HIV programme implementation and advocacy, Kevin is unquestionably qualified. He is also the first IAS Executive Director openly living with HIV, bringing lived experience to the role and deep connections to those most affected by the epidemic. Osborne said it was an honour to represent the IAS at this pivotal moment in the global fight against HIV. “We are at a crossroads with both ambitious global goals to end this epidemic and looming threats to global funding and sound policy. As the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, our mission to advance science and mobilize collective action has never been more important.”
The mission of the International AIDS Society (IAS) is to lead collective action on every front of the global HIV response through its membership base, scientific authority and convening power. Founded in 1988, the IAS is the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, with members from more than 180 countries working on all fronts of the global response to HIV. Together, we advocate and drive urgent action to reduce the global impact of HIV. The IAS is also the steward of the world’s two most prestigious HIV conferences: The International AIDS Conference and the IAS Conference on HIV Science.

June 13, 2018

PACE Approved a Resolution on Fighting Tuberculosis in Europe

On 27 April 2018, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe approved Resolution “Drug-resistant tuberculosis in Europe” following presentation of the report by Ukrainian MP Serhii Kiral, Chair of the Parliament Platform to Fight TB. Alliance for Public Health as the focal point of the civil society organizations for working with the Global TB Caucus in Ukraine provides technical support to the Parliament Platform. (Global TB Caucus)

The Global TB Caucus and Olga Klymenko, TB activist who knows about this disease from her own experience, were actively engaged into preparation of Serhii Kiral’s speech. 

PACE called the Council of Europe member states to ensure that every tuberculosis patient is effectively diagnosed and has access to affordable treatment and care as well as psychosocial support.

In the official letter of Volodymyr Ariev, head of the Ukrainian delegation to PACE, to Ulana Suprun, Acting Minister of Health of Ukraine on the need to harmonize the national TB regulations with the above-mentioned Resolution, it is stated that “PACE Resolution 2219 “Drug-resistant tuberculosis in Europe” contains clear proposals on fighting tuberculosis and should be implemented in the Ukrainian regulatory framework.”

It is expected that the provisions of Resolution 2219 will be discussed in detail at the Parliamentary Hearings on TB to be held in autumn this year. Currently, relevant activities are planned to be carried out in the country to implement the provisions of this document to the national regulatory framework on the response to tuberculosis. The Parliament Platform to Fight TB, the Public Health Center, the Alliance for Public Health and the Partnership “Stop TB. Ukraine” are actively involved in this process.

Here you can find the text of the Resolution which was approved by PACE on 27 April after official presentation of the report.

June 06, 2018

Odesa City Council voted for the Municipal program on HIV/Tuberculosis

Odesa City Council voted for the Municipal program on HIV/Tuberculosis

On June 06th, Odesa City Council voted for the Municipal program on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis in Odesa ‘Fast-Track CITIes’ for 2018-2020 allocating almost UAH 66 000 000 from the Municipal budget for combating HIV/TB.

In 2017 within ‘Fast-track TB/HIV responses for key populations in EECA cities’ project of Alliance for Public Health, Odesa conducted a situation assessment aiming at identifying particular HIV/TB key populations needs, services, data gaps, barriers to access and sustainability of services resourcing. As the result, the program was developed within Fast-Track CITIes project with the involvement of key stakeholders and partners in Odesa and international support from the Stop TB Partnership and UNAIDS.

Considering the significant decrease in funding from international donors, including The Global Fund to support HIV and TB responses the Odesa Municipal program includes the transition from the donor-funding to the domestic funding of HIV/TB programs including from Municipal budget.

The overall budget of the Municipal program is 395 390 400 UAH (about 15 000 000 USD) with 65 984 600 UAH (about 2 500 000 USD) from the Municipal budget. The program aims at reaching UNAIDS and STOP TB 90-90-90. The harm reduction services will be provided to 33 300 Key populations out of estimated 37 000 in the city (including 20 250 PWID, 5 310 CSW, 7 740 MSM) in 2020. 11 000 000 UAH will be allocated from the Municipal budget on reaching KPs with harm reduction within 2018-2020 which is 15% from the overall financing for KPs. It is planned to reach 13 808 people living with HIV with antiretroviral treatment and 1 100 people with anti-tuberculosis treatment annually.

The core costs added by the city are: 18 % for HIV testing, 17 % for harm reduction for KPs, 7 % for Mobile TB clinic to expand TB screening in the city, 5 % for implementing Directly observed treatment for tuberculosis in the outpatient stage and 4 % for X-ray complex.

Voting for the program by 54 out of 62 Members of Odesa City Council is the bright example of city leadership that is taking strong on challenging health issues in the city.

June 01, 2018

The Alliance Statement to the International Children’s Day

8 million children (18% of the total population) live in Ukraine according to the State Statistics Committee. Ukraine is one of the lowest in the world (186) in terms of fertility and one of the highest in mortality. At the same time, Ukraine remains a country with a high HIV prevalence. In 2017 among 18 thousand new cases of HIV infection, 2,6 thousand (14%) were children. In just four months of 2018, almost 5.8 thousand new cases of HIV were registered in Ukraine, of which 794  (or 14%) are children (according to the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine). In response to a looming epidemiological situation, the Alliance for Public Health traditionally supports comprehensive preventive and educational work with children.

The Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine and the Alliance have agreed an action plan to ensure the health of children and adolescents in 2018. According to the plan, the Ministry allocates 250 thousand UAH to support information and education preventive activities with the Alliance technical support.

In cooperation with our partner NGO’s, CBO’s and state organizations, we strengthen community capacity in  saving the health and ensure the well-being of Ukrainian children.

Over the past three years, more than 10,000 children in 6 regions of Ukraine have been covered with prevention services.

This year, the Alliance and partner NGOs as ever held numerous events for chilbren affiliated to the International Children’s Day.

The Alliance’s priorities in preventing the spread of HIV among children and young people are the creation and maintenance of low-threshold services that meet the needs and demand of children. Necessary component of such programs is the involvement of adolescents in the planning and implementation of all activities based in Day Centers established by the Alliance.

The active position of adolescents and the friendly attitude of competent professionals contribute to the development of safer behavior skills, skills of HIV/HCV/Tb prevention, counteracting violence, increasing tolerance and leadership qualities, forming a commitment of parents, health workers and adolescents to timely and full vaccination.

All this gives us hope for the prosperous and healthy future of Ukrainian children!

May 24, 2018

Final study report within “Communities, Rights, and Gender TB Tools Assessment”

Alliance presented the final report on the results of the project “Communities, Rights, and Gender TB Tools Assessment”, implemented in Ukraine with the support of the Stop TB Partnership. The project was implemented in partnership with the Ukrainian Institute of Public Health Policy in coordination with the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and close cooperation with key communities and activists in the field of TB in Ukraine. The report is based on data as of October-December 2017.
Within the framework of the project, a unique research for our country was held, engaging a wide range of stakeholders as its distinctive feature. This study was based on such tools as Gender Assessment Tool for National HIV and TB Responses (Stop TB Partnership, UNAIDS) and Action Framework for TB Key Populations (STOP TB Partnership). The study findings provide useful information for strengthening the national response to the TB and TB/HIV epidemic in Ukraine.
The gender-based approach to the evaluation of the TB program has helped to identify barriers in order to develop appropriate interventions, taking into account certain risks for men and women, boys and girls, as well as people with other gender identities within the framework of TB control and care programs, since gender determines certain aspects of health seeking behavior, the barriers associated with it, and the grounds to overcome them. Among the key findings of the study, based on data collected through qualitative component (two focus groups with women and men affected by TB and in-depth interviews in four regions of Ukraine with community representatives, NGOs, international organizations, government agencies and TB doctors) there have been identified the specific needs of women, men and transgender people in the diagnostics and treatment of TB. Taking into account the large number of gender-specific needs of patients, the outpatient treatment mode is considered to best satisfy them without a significant additional financial and organizational burden on the health care system.
The project also reflected existing approaches to key affected populations, which would ensure that high-risk population is not left behind by the health system. The carefully selected factors that influence the risk of disease in different key populations enabled compiling an exhaustive list of such groups. This approach on prioritization of the high risks groups for TB disease is proposed for implementation at the annual basis at national and regional levels. It can also be used by non-governmental organizations as a powerful advocacy resource.
The link to download the assessment report in Ukrainian and English.

May 18, 2018

Representatives of Ukraine are included in the Board of the TB Europe Coalition

Two members of the civil society from Ukraine – Yuliya Chorna, TB Advocacy Manager of ICF “Alliance for Public Health”, and Olha Klymenko, a public activist, a member of the Steering Committee of the Stop TB Partnership Ukraine, joined the Board of the TB Europe Coalition (hereinafter – the TBEC). In general, upon the first Board elections in the TBEC history, 13 nominees were elected. 72 TBEC members (40% of the total number of the TBEC participants) voted in favor of the elected candidates through online voting from April 17 to April 25.
The TBEC was founded in 2009 and over the years has become a dynamic network of activists and civil society organizations consolidating their efforts to overcome the TB epidemic in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. Among the most important partnerships of the TBEC are TBPeople, the first network of TB survivors in the EECA, and the Global TB Caucus, an international movement uniting more than 2,000 parliamentarians from 130 countries in the fight against TB.
The strategic objectives of the TBEC are to ensure a strong and responsible network of TB activists through providing specific knowledge and support in developing skills for the activists’ influence on the policy-making processes for the efficient TB response. For many years, the Alliance, acting as the TBEC Secretariat, has been vigorously supporting this essential international initiative. In particular, the TBEC partnership with the regional project TB-REP is important, as this is the first regional TB project supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria with a component of civil society engagement.
A wide range of partners is involved in the implementation of the TB-REP project under the technical ownership of the WHO Europe Office (PAS Center, Moldova, is the principal recipient of the grant), while the civil society organizations (CSOs) in the project countries play an important role in the project. In cooperation with public authorities, TB-REP partners from civil society are dedicated to advocate for the transition to patient-centered TB care, in particular, in outpatient settings. The TBEC, together with the Alliance, is responsible for supporting the activities of civil society organizations within the TB-REP project. The main task of cooperation is to ensure that public opinion and the experience of people who have or survived TB are taken into account when designing people-oriented TB care models.

The Alliance congratulates new members of the TBEC Board and wishes them successful work to overcome TB as soon as possible!