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!

May 03, 2018

Regional proposal on Sustainability of services for KPs in EECA submitted to the GF

Alliance together with partners submitted regional proposal to the Global Fund on sustainability of services for key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region

On April 27, the consortium of regional organizations from Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) – Alliance for Public Health, All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH, Central Asian PLWHA Association and Eurasian Key Populations Health Network, together with technical partners, TB People, as well as partners from Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine submitted a joint proposal to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on regional program on sustainability of services for key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region.

The innovative proposal was developed as a result of an intensive dialogue between the key stakeholders in the region, in consultation with regional community networks, Balkan partners, TB stakeholders, who also submitted a regional proposal.

The proposal provides an answer to the key issue of the EECA region – from where, how and what specific services should be funded for key populations  after the Global Fund leave to effectively influence the dynamics of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the region? Using real experience of budget advocacy and project implementation of partners from the consortium of member countries, the calculations were made of potential savings through optimization of the most expensive and often (especially in the EECA region) overpriced article of state budget expenditures on HIV- procurement of drugs, which will save at least $ 188 million annually and partially direct them to finance services for key groups. The consortium’s calculation of an optimized package of interventions for 90% of risk groups in the project countries (over 3 million people) costs $ 157 million a year, taking into account interventions on human rights and gender-based approaches. Thus, the proposal gives a real way to transition to national financing with a focus on maximizing the effectiveness of interventions for the cascade of key groups in the EECA region.

The proposal was submitted in partnership with community organizations in the region, as well as with civil society organizations, governmental and technical partners. Almost all partners are situated in the countries of the EECA region and are implementers of advocacy and preventing programs, they are well aware on how it is possible to change the regional context on practice. The partners consider the recently submitted proposal as the last chance to implement crucial strategies in the region, which should be focused on transition and treatment cascade, taking into account the legal and gender issues of key populations.

The Global Fund’s decision on the results of the regional proposal is expected in September 2018!

March 29, 2018

Opioid substitution therapy: ways of implementation in penitentiary institutions.

On March 28, 2018, under the chairmanship of the Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine Denis Chernyshov, a round table meeting with the participation of international experts was held on the urgent issues of opioid substitution therapy (OST) in penitentiary institutions. ICF Alliance for Public Health was co-organizer of this essential high-level meeting. Crucial issues regarding the prospects for the introduction of OST treatment in prisons, where convicted in accordance with the draft of a new interagency Order which already been drafted, agreed by three relevant Ministries of Ukraine.

At the moment, there are 9 medical institutions under the jurisdiction of the State Criminal Execution Service of Ukraine, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, which have valid licenses for the circulation of narcotic drugs and on the basis of which OST may be provided. Under the Global Fund’s financial support program Alliance purchases 90 courses of liquid methadone for 2018, 120 courses in 2019 and 180 in 2020. It is also planned to purchase the required amount of manual methadone dispensers for liquid methadone.

The event was attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the National Police of Ukraine, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, representatives from the Public Health Center, the Ukrainian Institute of Public Health Policy, representatives from Ukrainian and international non-governmental organizations: IF “Renaissance”CF “Hope and Trust”, CO “Ukrainian League “Legalife”, PATH, Coalition of HIV-Service Organizations, CF “VOLNA”, NGO “Club Chance”, authorized representatives of USAID, UNODC, international network “Police and HIV” (LEAHN) in Moldova Svetlana Doltu on regional level and Pavlo Skala on Ukrainian  level, director of the International Drug Policy Consorcium (IDPC) – Ann Fordham.

March 23, 2018

On World TB Day Alliance reports on the progress achieved by civil society in Ukraine

Alliance is implementing a special screening program has been launched on the basis of civil society partners, which has detected 1,400 new TB cases among the most vulnerable populations with limited access to health care.

During 2015-2017 years 9 300 MDR-TB patients were enrolled to treatment in Ukraine within the program supported by Alliance with the Global Fund funding, and all of them were receiving medications and social care from Alliance. Besides, Alliance addresses TB epidemic in the challenging operating environment, it provided 2nd line TB drugs to temporarily non-controlled territories in the East of Ukraine with 700 MDR TB courses, as well as consumables for TB laboratories for rapid diagnosis of TB.

Alliance implemented a unique nationwide approach aimed at supporting the patient’s adherence to treatment, enabling us to almost double the success rate up to 79%, which even exceeds the WHO target for the countries of the European region. This is a really impressive result, as the average treatment success level of such patients in Ukraine is less than 40%.




During 2015-17 Alliance supported several great changes on the policy agenda.

Alliance helped to boost TB response at the cities level: for the first time several cities of Eastern Europe and Central Asia joined Zero TB Cities initiative – Odesa (Ukraine) and Bălți (Moldova), developing TB city plans, increasing municipal funding for TB, applying results based financing with strong support from STOP TB Partnership.

Being a civil society focal point of the Global TB Caucus – organizations working with the global movement of parliamentarians, Alliance supported establishing the Parliament Platform to Fight Tuberculosis, which now unites nearly 50 Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, ensuring policy changes and funding allocation.

Jointly with other partners we prioritized transition of the MDR-TB treatment program to the governmental funding. For the past 3 years, Alliance procured 50% of MDR-TB drugs, and it is our target to ensure continuation of treatment with quality medicines and treatment success rate.

Starting from 2018 all MDR-TB treatment procurement is shifted under governmental responsibility. Due to consolidated efforts procurement of TB drugs with domestic funds will allow to provide continuous treatment in full of all identified patients both with susceptible TB and MDR-TB. Moreover, according to the plan in 2018 –  90% with XDR-TB will be covered by domestic funds. The remaining 10% will be procured by Alliance within the Global Fund funding (133 schemes with delamanid). Alliance continuously applying efforts together with other partners for making up-to-date treatment available – with bedaquiline and delamanid.

Great progress is made within TB-REP regional project implemented under leadership of PAS Center with the European Coalition Against Tuberculosis (TBEC) providing support in transition to outpatient, people-centered TB care models in 11 post-Soviet countries.

2018 is crucial for fighting TB. In particular, there is an expectation that the UN High-level Meeting on TB in September this year will lead to elevating TB on higher political agenda. Alliance team member represented at the TB HLM Affected Communities and Civil Society Advisory Panel. It will be essential that civil society perspective will be reflected in the political declaration, and fulfilment of the global commitments will be closely monitored.

We are grateful to our collaboration with civil society, community, professional and governmental organizations, all partners and donors. Together we stop TB!

Media Monitoring

March 07, 2018

Alliance Provided Hepatitis C Treatment to 1,907 Patients with 95% Treatment Success Rate and 98.3%. Retention!

Recently, the last patient completed Hepatitis C treatment with modern and effective direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) within the unique comprehensive three-year project implemented by the Alliance for Public Health “Scaling up Accessible and Effective HCV Treatment Through a CommunityBased Treatment Model for Most Vulnerable Populations in ResourceConstrained Ukraine” (hereinafter – the Project).

Since April 2015, access to 1,907 courses of treatment within the Project was provided to the patients representing the key populations. 1,531 patients (80%) were people who inject drugs (PWID), 152 (8%) were partners of PWID; 69 (3.6%) – men who have sex with men; 82 (4.3%) – sex workers; 73 (3.8%) belonged to other groups, including 49 military servicemen involved in the armed conflict in the east of Ukraine.

1,400 patients (73.4%) were co-infected with HIV. The treatment success rate at the follow-up 12 weeks after the treatment completion was 95.1%. Out of all patients who received access to direct-acting antivirals, only 33 persons (1.7%) failed to complete their treatment due to various reasons.

Such a high success rate was reached by Alliance thanks to the design and further implementation of a unique model of community-based treatment and social support of patients from the key populations.

How did the model operate?

The first important step of the Project implementation was sharing accurate information about the Project conditions, eligibility criteria, advantages and opportunities with the key populations. This process was, first of all, facilitated by the social workers of local NGOs and community representatives who provided detailed information to potential participants of the Project and referred them to health facilities for consultations with doctors and further diagnostics. Each of the 25 health facilities involved into the Project organized multidisciplinary teams, each consisting of a doctor, a nurse and a social worker from one of the 19 local NGOs.

Second, Alliance offered a number of workshops for doctors and social workers on Hepatitis C treatment with direct-acting antivirals. The workshops also covered peculiarities of the patients’ psychosocial support in the course of treatment.

Coordinated decisions on the compliance with all eligibility criteria and final enrolment in the treatment program were taken by the multidisciplinary teams.

The criteria for patient enrolment and prioritization within the Project were as follows:

  1. PWID, OST patients, SW, MSM, military servicemen, human rights advocates for key populations;
  2. Fibrosis ≥ F2 (priority – F3, F4), including compensated cirrhosis or extrahepatic manifestations of the disease which are not contraindications for the Hepatitis C antiviral therapy.

Further treatment of the patients was provided under the careful monitoring and supervision of the multidisciplinary team. Each member of the team worked with the patient according to his/her professional duties and functions.

The infectious disease doctor ensured the selection of patients based on the clinical indications, prescribed the required laboratory and functional diagnostic procedures depending on the individual clinical situation and terms of the Project, defined the treatment regimen, ensured proper maintenance of the medical records, assessed the patient’s condition during the therapy, corrected any possible side effects or treatment complications, took measures to avoid unwanted interactions between the DAAs and other medications, controlled the intended use of medical drugs, etc.

The nurse ensured timely and proper dispensing of medical drugs to the patients, filled in medical records, referred the patient for laboratory diagnostics in line with the doctor’s prescriptions, and provided consultations to the patients on the possible side effects and treatment complications together with the social worker.

The social worker was usually the first to establish contact with the potential Project participant. He/she provided explanations and consultations to the members of key populations on the possibility of taking part in the Project, ensured referral of the clients with positive Hepatitis C rapid test results to health facilities for further diagnostics of Hepatitis C. Within the multidisciplinary team, the social worker took part in the selection process, provided psychosocial support to the patient in the course of treatment, offered consultative, psychological and practical help to the patient, formed the patient’s adherence to treatment, referred the patient to the doctor in case of any complications, monitored the dates of further visits and receipt of the medical drugs, maintained contact with the patient’s family members.

Alliance staff members heard a lot of grateful words addressed to the social workers from the Project participants.  The doctors involved also appreciated high efficiency of the model implemented. The effective and well-coordinated efforts of the multidisciplinary teams allowed achieving an unprecedented level of adherence among the patients from among the key populations participating in the Project – 98.3%.

Alliance would like to take this opportunity to express its deepest respect to the doctors who were involved in the Project and a sincere gratitude to the staff of partner NGOs for their committed work with the patients!

The community-based Hepatitis C treatment model implemented by the Alliance is a crucial step to improve public health. This approach may be used as an evidence to strengthen the healthcare system and to inform the national Hepatitis C elimination policy.

March 05, 2018

Alliance to launch modern Hepatitis C treatment in penal settings

Alliance for Public Health became the first in Ukraine to offer access to Hepatitis C treatment to people living with HIV in the health facilities of the State Criminal Executive Service of Ukraine

Within the Global Fund-supported program, Alliance provides convicted and detained persons who have HIV and Hepatitis C co-infection with modern and effective Hepatitis C treatment.

The diagnostic interventions aimed at detection of Hepatitis C include rapid tests with further confirmation of the diagnosis using PCR assays.

The State Criminal Executive Service of Ukraine received 1,000 rapid tests for primary Hepatitis C diagnostics from Alliance. Based on the testing results, 70% of the persons living with HIV tested for Hepatitis C had positive results.

In addition, 140 convicts who got positive rapid test results were able to receive further diagnostics, i.e. a number of the required laboratory assays in a private medical laboratory and confirmed their Hepatitis C diagnoses.

As a result, 50 HIV+ patients with confirmed Hepatitis C diagnoses started treatment with highly effective Harvoni medications in the health facilities of the State Criminal Executive Service of Ukraine.

March 01, 2018

The Second March of Sex Workers: “Hard Settings”/“Steel Eggs” of the Ukrainian Politics

The 1st of March was marked by the second annual March of Sex Workers going along the ‘government district’ in the capital city of Ukraine – from the Cabinet of Ministers along the Verkhovna Rada building to the President’s Administration. The march brought together several dozens of sex workers and their supporters: civil society activists, human rights advocates and mass media.

Traditionally, many participants were wearing theater masks, with some of them having red safety helmets on their heads and holding handmade banners and symbolic red lanterns.

This year, participants of the event dedicated to the International Sex Workers’ Rights Day, which is marked on the 3rd of March, as always focused on the issue of sex workers’ rights violations and called the leaders of the central executive and legislative bodies to cancel the administrative responsibility for prostitution (article 181-1 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences). This article, stipulating the fine of up to ten tax-free minimum income amounts for individual prostitution, continues to be used as a repressive instrument of corruption, extortion, intimidation and violence against sex workers.

To draw the attention of decision-makers to the issue of artificial criminalization, organizers of the event presented “twins” wearing the masks of Petro Poroshenko, Volodymyr Groysman, Andriy Parubiy and Yuri Lutsenko to symbolize the desired willingness of the authorities to cancel the outdated repressive provision, which currently affects about 80 thousand of sex workers in Ukraine.

For the exceptional courage and commitment in taking such brave legislative decisions, participants of the march delivered to all the above-mentioned imaginary decision-makers symbolic “distinctions” – “steel eggs”!

Traditional organizers of the event were the All-Ukrainian League LegaLife and the Alliance for Public Health.

Media coverage

February 20, 2018

Leading EECA organizations discussed the content of the Global Fund Proposal

On February 19-20, 2018 in Minsk, Belarus, a regional dialogue meeting was held in order to discuss the priorities of the program in response to the Regional Proposal by Global Fund on Sustainability of services for key populations in EECA region.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the country’s  CCMs of the region, representatives of Key Populations groups and civil society organizations, government agencies, regional networks of Key Populations groups, international technical partners.

Significant attention was paid to the priorities that will form the basis of the multi-country proposal to Global Fund; conversely plans of other consortia from the post-Soviet region and south-eastern Europe were actively discussed.

“The priority of this program is the result – the transition to national financing and systemic expansion of access to services. We know how to do it, – says Dmitry Sherembey from the All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH. – After we implemented the transition of key programs to the Ukrainian government, we started to work successfully in a number of countries in the EECA region to support such processes”.

“We are interested in the directions of the proposed program, – says Irina Novik from the Belarusian Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Medical Technologies, Informatization, Administration and Management of Health. – The issues of transition and sustainability are now the most significant. Belarus has something to share, and we look forward to an effective exchange of experience with colleagues from other countries”.

Nurali Amanzholov from the Central Asian Association of PLWH considers the partnership to be the strongest in the region for the implementation of tasks to optimize ART schemes and prices that can have a significant impact on the coverage of programs in the EECA region and affect the HIV cascade.

“It is very important for the transgender community in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia to be integrated into the regional dialogue. For the first time in our region, the importance of specific and sensitive services for Transgender people is recognized. I am sure that this dialogue will be a new starting point for the development of programs for our community, – noted Angelica Volkonskaya from the initiative group HelpTG”.

Andriy Klepikov from the Alliance for Public Health noted a wide range of members who participated in the discussion of the plans and expressed his gratitude for valuable advice on improving the program. The concept of the program will be presented in country dialogues and is open for comments until early March 2018.

The meeting was attended by Alliance for Public Health, All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH 100% of Life, Central Asian Association of PLWH, Eurasian Key Populations Health Network, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, the Belarus Initiative Group HelpTG, Georgian Harm Reduction Network, ITPC.ru, Eurasian Coalition on Male Health, UNAIDS  Belarus, The State Institution Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Medical Technologies, Informatization, Administration and Management of Health, Belarus, Secretariat of the CCM of Uzbekistan, “Initiativa Pozitiva”, Moldova, Kyrgyz Association of Harm Reduction Programs “Partner Network”, and I+Solutions.