March 05, 2019

The Alliance implemented the supervision system in health facilities

From October 2018 to March 2019, the ICF “Alliance of Public Health” within the project “Accelerating the efforts on combating HIV/AIDS in Ukraine” (HealthLink) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the implementation of a full-time supervisory system for medical and social workers.

This initiative is being implemented in 12 oblasts of Ukraine: Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad, Zaporizhzhya, Donetsk, Odesa, Chernihiv, Poltava, Cherkasy, Kherson, Mykolayiv, Kyiv oblast and Kyiv city. In September, 16 supervisors from among doctors and psychologists were selected. From September 2018 to March 2019, three trainings were provided to the team for the development of working materials, practicing of skills and supervisory skills. The curriculum consisted of 72 hours of theoretical and practical training, exchange of experience and mastering of new forms and methods of work.

The key goal of supervision is to improve the quality of health services provided to HIV-positive people by health care facilities. Supervisors in their work pay special attention to the development of professional skills of doctors to counsel and test patients for HIV, optimize their HIV diagnostics route, interact with social workers and case managers, etc. If necessary, supervisors conduct mini-trainings on the use of rapid HIV tests, teach effective communication with patients from target groups, and find the right motivation for HIV-positive patients for enrolment on the dispensary record and forming adherence to treatment. A lot of attention in the work of supervisory groups is provided to discussing confidentiality issues, reducing the level of stigmatization and discrimination of HIV-positive patients and representatives of risk groups by health staff. Another important and relevant aspect that supervisors focus on during meetings with medical and social workers is prevention of professional burnout.

Supervision system is gaining momentum and improving. Supervised physicians become more loyal to HIV-positive patients and more knowledgeable about HIV. During the meetings, the existing problems encountered by healthcare professionals in their practice are discussed, first of all, “inefficient” mechanisms for the redirecting HIV-positive patients, “delayed” and/or ineffective patient routes, fears, stereotypes, knowledge gaps, etc.

Currently, the following achievements of regional coordinators may be identified:

  • From November 2018 to February 2019, 81 supervisory meetings were held in 11 regions, 21 of them were held in HIV-service NGOs and 60 were held on the basis of HCFs. In total, supervisory meetings were attended by 385 medical workers (doctors, nurses, medical assistants) and 162 social workers;
  • In the Kirovohrad oblast, after conducting supervisions, three medical staff achieved the dispensary enrolment and ART indicators and received incentive packages from the project.

 

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March 01, 2019

The Alliance has conducted a series of trainings on HIV pre-exposure prevention

At the start of the pilot area “Support and Management of HIV Pre-Exposure prevention (PrEP)”, from February 18 to February 26, the Alliance of Public Health organized a series of training sessions for its implementers. 59 social workers and project managers from 25 partner organizations, who won the open competition for the 26A component (PrEP), took part in the events.

Participants got acquainted with the best world experience and innovative practices of the NGO “Alliance.Global” implementing PreP in Kyiv, mastered the medical aspects and conducted practical workshops on effective dismantling of existing myths regarding the PreP intake, elaborated in detail the functions of NGO specialists at all three stages of the implementation of this activity and mechanisms of interactions with regional AIDS Centers.

This activity is being implemented by the Public Health Alliance in cooperation with the Center for Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and aims at reducing the rate of spread of HIV among MSM, HIV-negative partners from discordant couples and those reporting high-risk behavior (including sex workers) by introducing PrEP as an element of a combined prevention and care program in Ukraine.

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February 28, 2019

By “Fast Track Cities” Odesa has increased the number of patients on ART by 50% in 2 years

Today in Odesa, the Fast Track Cities partners meeting took place, showcasing impressive results in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the city. Two years ago, in the framework of the regional project “Accelerated response to the HIV/TB epidemic among key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia” of the ICF “Alliance for Public Health”, the Odesa Municipality joined the Fact Track Cities Global Initiative to overcome the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030. The synergetic work of the Alliance, Odesa City Council, partner NGOs and key populations has led to an increase of 50% in the number of ART patients. For comparison, in Kyiv, which is also a city of Fast Track Cities initiative, the progress made for the same period amounted to 43%, and is even less throughout Ukraine – 37%.

“Two years ago, Odesa decided to make a pivot point decision to become the Fast Track city, that is, implement accelerated action in the fight against HIV and tuberculosis. The Alliance for Public Health supported the Odesa city authorities all the time, and today the city, in partnership with non-governmental organizations and key populations, reported convincing results – by 50%, the number of people receiving ARV therapy in comparison with 2016 has increased. Significant results in the fight against tuberculosis – the implementation of patient-oriented programs has improved the TB treatment coverage from 56% in 2016 to 77.4% in 2018, and even up to 82.8% in the framework of the observed treatment pilot”, noted Executive Director of the Alliance for Public Health Andriy Klepikov.

In addition, in 2018, 27,378 representatives of key populations were covered with prevention services in Odessa. Of these, 17,430 are injecting drug users (84% of the estimated number), 4,962 are sex workers (58%), 4,667 are men having sex with men (60%) and 419 are transgender people. 26,825 representatives of key populations were tested with rapid HIV tests and 1,204 positive results were found. HIV mortality in Odessa decreased by 19% – from 117 in 2017 to 95 in 2018.

“Odesa’s success in the fight against HIV/AIDS is the great achievement of a joint, and most importantly, a concerted effort of city authorities and non-governmental organizations. We are very grateful to public organizations, including the Alliance of Public Health, which is one of the key organizations in the fight against the HIV/AIDS and TB epidemic, for sharing their experience with key populations not only at the local, but at the European level, which gave us an opportunity to consider the things familiar in our work from a different perspective and become even more effective in achieving the goals of the Fast Track Cities initiative”,  said Deputy Mayor of Odesa Svitlana Bedrega.

Moreover, within the framework of this program, since December 2018, 2 211 injecting drug users received harm reduction kits procured from the municipal budget and distributed through municipally-owned pharmacies for a total of UAH 100,000. In general, for the period 2017-2018, UAH 419,000 were allocated from the municipal budget to non-governmental organizations in the framework of competitions of social projects for HIV prevention and expansion of access to substitution maintenance therapy.

“The Fast Track Cities Initiative envisages the mutual responsibility and accountability of local government and civil society under the strong leadership of the Mayor. We observed this in Kyiv, and now we are seeing this in Odesa, where the Mayor and civil society are jointly reporting to the City Council on achievements and work together to find the most effective way to achieve the 90-90 -90 goals”, says UNAIDS in Ukraine Director Roman Gaylevich.

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February 15, 2019

Rebranding of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance

After 25 years on the frontline of the HIV response, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance has changed name to Frontline AIDS.

Below is an official statement from the organization:

Our new era as Frontline AIDS is about breaking down the legal, political and social barriers that marginalise people and increase their risk of acquiring HIV or dying from AIDS-related illness.

Through our renewed purpose and focus, we will build new links with local, national and global health organisations and social justice movements. Because no one person or organisation can end AIDS alone.

Why Frontline? Because –

  • We work with people on the frontline of the epidemic, including people living with HIV, marginalised people and communities, and those at increased risk of acquiring HIV.
  • The frontline can be anywhere – from a health centre in La Paz to a needle and syringe exchange in Kyiv or a court building in Delhi to an activist march in Soweto. Wherever innovation, ideas and action are harnessed to help address the epidemic.

Why AIDS? Because –

  • AIDS is not over. Last year, almost 1 million people lost their lives as a result of AIDS-related illnesses. More than half of those who died were from sub-Saharan Africa.
  • We are at a critical moment in the epidemic, both epidemiologically and politically. The AIDS movement has driven astonishing progress over the past three decades but if the international community becomes complacent and slows down, or even stops, then we risk going backwards.

As Frontline AIDS we’re redoubling our efforts to tell the hidden story of AIDS, one often ignored or rejected by governments and health services. This means challenging the status quo, sharing difficult truths and working across borders and specialisms to bring the epidemic to an end.

The difficult truths are unpleasant to hear. 47% of new HIV infections are among marginalised people, including sex workers, people who use drugs, transgender people and men who have sex with men and their sexual partners; less than half of children under 15 living with HIV worldwide receive treatment; and people living with HIV are significantly more likely to be affected by chronic depression.

Some things at Frontline AIDS won’t change. We will continue to support and deliver high quality programming on HIV prevention, harm reduction, sexual and human rights. But, we plan to work differently: to be agile and flexible enough to work with new collaborators, on projects that drive the change that the world needs for a future free from AIDS, for everyone, everywhere.

So here’s our invitation to you:

Join us. End it.

Alliance for Public Health congratulates colleagues with a new brand identity!

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February 14, 2019

On the All Lovers Day the Alliance joined the global fundraising campaign to combat HIV, TB and malaria

Today, on the All Lovers Day, the Executive Director of the Alliance fpr Public Health (Alliance), together with representatives of key communities, visited Kyiv embassies of top ten countries that are key donors of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and sent letters calling for continued support for HIV and TB control programs in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) countries and making a financial contribution to the Global Fund within the framework of the sixth replenishment period. The Alliance and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, which initiated an action in the EECA region, collected 135 signatures under the requests from non-governmental organizations from Ukraine, other EECA countries and regional organizations to the ambassadors of the leading countries of the world.

The letters were personally handed over to staff and authorized representatives of the embassies of Austria, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Finland, France, Sweden and Japan. In general, they submitted today to the embassies of 26 states in Ukraine.

The objective of the action was to support the Global Fund’s efforts to ensure the required level of investment within the next recurring replenishment period for the next three-year cycle (2020-2022). The Global Fund set as the basic task to raise USD14 billion. In fact, according to the GFAN “Get Back on Track” report, it is necessary to raise USD18 billion. The United States can help save at least 16 million lives, halve HIV, tuberculosis and malaria mortality rate, and create stronger and more sustainable health systems by 2023.

 

“Our goal is measured not by money. Our goal is to save at least 16 million lives. And for this the Global Fund needs to collect USD16.8 to 18 billion, – said Andriy Klepikov, Executive Director for the Alliance and Member of the Developing Countries NGO Delegation to the Global Fund Board, – In the EECA region, Ukraine is the largest beneficiary of the Global Fund. At the same time, Ukraine has demonstrated donors the most convincing results of taking control over HIV and TB epidemic. We are proud of the fact that it is the civil society organizations and key communities have become the driving force behind this campaign – 135 organizations from 18 countries have provided indisputable arguments for the further full-fledged work of the Global Fund, setting their own work as example! “

“As a person who has been receiving essential treatment with the support of the Global Fund for the last 15 years, and today helps hundreds of thousands of people from the most vulnerable communities to obtain it, I understand, as hardly anyone else, how important it is to continue, because the fight against HIV and TB epidemics goes on. The Global Fund not only saves lives, it makes people happy and fills their lives with love! Thus, on this day, we say to donor countries – love more, support more!”- said Anton Basenko, leader of the community of people who use drugs and live with HIV in Ukraine and EECA region.

The action was timed to the All Lovers Day, as it is the most favorable date in the beginning of the year to thank the ambassadors of the most responsible states and to urge the countries to demonstrate their ongoing commitment to combating the three diseases and to increase the financial contributions of the states to the Global Fund. Moreover, today’s action has become an opportunity to raise awareness and attract potential new donors from the EECA region, including countries such as Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia.

Global Fund Advocates Network Asia-Pacific (GFAN AP) is the initiator of the “Love More Give More” campaign, dedicated to the All Lovers Day, joined by more than 45 countries from the African and Asia-Pacific region.

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February 07, 2019

Alliance expertise has been reflected in the new WHO Guidelines on hepatitis C treatment!

The expertise of Alliance for Public Health contributed to the development of the new World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines for the care and treatment of persons diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C virus infection, which took almost a year. Anton Basenko, who represents Alliance and is a Board member of the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) from the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), became one of the co-authors. By the way, Anton is the only member of the Guidelines Development Group who represented Ukraine and the EECA region in general.

One of the key recommendations included in the updated guidelines is to use treatment regimens with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs), which are effective for all HCV genotypes. WHO lists three main pangenotypic regimens: sofosbuvir/daclatasvir, sofosbuvir/velpatasvir and glecaprevir/pibrentasvir. To treat adolescents aged 12—17 years, WHO recommends sofosbuvir/ledipasvir (for genotypes 1, 4, 5, 6) or sofosbuvir/ribavirin (for genotypes 2, 3).

In Ukraine, Alliance took the lead in hepatitis C treatment with modern and effective direct-acting antivirals, allowing 2,162 members of the key populations from all over Ukraine (including almost 50 military servants who participated in the armed conflict in the east of Ukraine) to access free treatment. Their treatment success rate was as high as 95%! Alliance was the first in Ukraine to offer screening, diagnostics and treatment of hepatitis C with DAAs for 50 prisoners, with 98% of patients from the penal institutions successfully cured! For almost a decade, Alliance has been traditionally offering hepatitis C treatment among the key populations, which is part of the comprehensive package of prevention services.

Full version of the guidelines can be found here 

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February 06, 2019

Suspension of the Minister of Health can cause growth in the epidemics of HIV/AIDS and TB!

ICF ” Alliance of Public Health “, which is responsible for the implementation of programs on prevention and treatment of HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis for more than 300,000 people in Ukraine, is concerned about suspension of Ulyana Suprun from performing the duties of the Minister of Health.

This threatens the comprehensive plan for the transition of HIV/AIDS and TB prevention and treatment programs from the Global Fund financing to the state budget of Ukraine, expected on July 1, 2019, for which donor countries provided Ukraine with more than USD 130 million in late 2017.

The situation of uncertainty and legal chaos in the specialized/responsible ministry can have a very adverse effect on the prospects for more rapid harmonization and approval of a number of drafts of important legal acts that should ensure timely and smooth transition of HIV/TB programs to full state funding.

Similar destructive processes take place in the absence (or expiration) of current National Programs on HIV and TB control. Under such conditions, funding from international donors may be suspended or delayed for an indefinite period, which will have a strong negative impact on the epidemic situation in the state.

The Alliance has no right to give judgments as to the decisions of courts, this is the mandate for the relevant hierarchy of the judicial authorities in Ukraine. However, we sincerely hope that in the near future a reasonable and fair decision will be made to prevent shifting the country a decade back, to the stage of uncontrolled rampage of dangerous epidemics.

We call on the President and the Government of Ukraine to hold control of the situation, to take the necessary actions to respond and prevent the development of negative scenarios, which may affect millions of our fellow citizens.

ICF “Alliance of Public Health”

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February 04, 2019

Alliance joined the MoH special operation on measles vaccination

The International Charitable Foundation “Alliance for Public Health” has promptly procured 42,000 syringes that will be used this month for additional immunization of children against measles in the Lviv region. Today, all medical supplies were delivered to the municipal non-profit enterprise of the Lviv Oblast Council “Regional Special Medical Supply Facility”.

This procurement of syringes was carried out by the Alliance in support of the order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine “On the implementation of the decision of the special headquarters of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine to respond to the situation with the spread of measles in Ukraine”, and according to the appeal of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and a special request from the Public Health Center (PHC), with which the Alliance cooperates closely, including on immunization and surveillance of communicable diseases.

Public health is one of the activities of the Alliance, so the organization could not keep up with such an important problem as vaccination of children. According to the PHC request, the Alliance procured single-use syringes at its own expense for the immediate injection of measles, parotitis and rubella vaccine (MPR) and disposable syringes for vaccine solution preparation, namely:

  1. Single-use syringe for injections, 0.5 ml, with needle – 24,000 units.
  2. Single use syringe for injections, LUER slip, 2.0 ml, two-component, with needle – 18,000 units.

According to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, as of January 25, 2019, 11,757 people contracted measles in Ukraine, including 6,881 children. The largest number of cases of measles continues to be registered among children aged 5-9 (2,141 persons – 31.1%), 10-14 (1,583-23%) and 1-4 (1,611-23.4%). Since the beginning of the year, 6 deaths from complications caused by measles have been reported in Ukraine according to operational data. The largest number of cases is reported in the Lviv oblast – 2,112 people, including 1,388 people – children aged 0-17 and 724 adults. In response to the outbreak of measles in the country on September 11, 2017, additional actions are being taken to immunize against measles in the children’s population.

We hope that the Alliance’s contribution to the national immunization campaign will help to stop the spread of the measles as soon as possible, not only in the Lviv region, but all over the country.


The Alliance for Public Health supports the community in countering HIV/AIDS and related epidemics. The Alliance is implementing one of the largest HIV prevention programs in the world, enabling 300,000 people who are most vulnerable to infection to receive the necessary preventive services. In 2018, over 200,000 PWID, 38,000 sex workers and 43,000 MSM were covered by HIV prevention services. With the support of the Alliance, the TB treatment efficient was doubled – from 40% to 80%. In 2018, a screening

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February 01, 2019

Alliance continues coaching regional specialists on scaling up OAT program in Ukraine

Within the research project “Expanding Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment in Ukraine” (ExMAT) implemented in close collaboration with Yale University School of Medicine, on Janгфкн 29-30 Module 4 of learning collaboratives on expanding access to OAT in Ukraine took place. The goal of the meeting was to assess the scale-up of OAT program in Ukraine during 2018. The country managed to scale up by 15%!


Module 4 of learning collaboratives was attended by Chief Narcologists of all regions of Ukraine and over 70 representatives of 75 OAT sites; coaching was provided by certified NiATx trainers from the Alliance for Public Health and Ukrainian Institute for Public Health Policy under thorough mentoring of Yale University specialists. Next module (Module No.5) of learning collaboratives is scheduled for April 2019.

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December 28, 2018

Solid results set high standard for transition in 2019

2018 was marked with innovations, greater scale and remarkable results in fighting HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis. Next year, Ukraine will be challenged with transition of most of the services from donor to state funding. We celebrate key achievements of the outgoing year, which set a solid ground for successful 2019:

 

  1. Nation-wide HIV prevention efforts focusing on Key Populations has brought the epidemic under control. In 2018, 200 000 PWID, 38 000 SWs, 43 000 MSM have accessed HIV prevention services. We run the largest harm reduction program funded by the Global Fund globally. Next year we will pass this successful program to the government for continued funding and management. The Alliance for Public Health (APH) will continue assisting with program oversight, monitoring and technical support to ensure consistently high quality and coverage.

 

  1. Effective innovations including PrEP, HIV oral and blood self-testing, tailored programs for transgenders and young people, and new technologies in HIV and TB case finding have strengthened the national response to epidemics. Successful PrEP pilot for 100 MSM in Kyiv with support of CDC became a ground for scaling up PrEP up to 2 800 MSM all over Ukraine next year. The resource selftest.org.ua allowed to confidentially deliver self-tests to rural and remote areas. Optimized Case Finding model, based on active contact tracing and recruitment of the extended risk/social networks of HIV-positive participants, was included into Compendium of good practices in the health sector response to HIV in the WHO European Region. Innovative services and community mobilization efforts among transgender people and experimenting youth (Drugstore project supported by Elton John AIDS Foundation) have also been highlighted as international best practice.

 

  1. APH brings new effective approaches in finding missing TB cases and TB treatment. Index screening scaled up through Results-Based Financing (RBF) allowed for a 4 times increase in the number of identified TB patients in 2018 compared to 2017! Ukrainian novel approach was acknowledged by the Global Fund Observer: people-oriented models of care that include social support for patients allowed to double TB treatment success rate from 40% up to 80%! Active engagement in the policy work including support and collaboration with TB Europe Coalition, Stop TB Partnership, WHO, Global TB Caucus, Partnership STOP TB Ukraine, 100% Life, Ministry of Health and Public Health Center brought Ukraine as a strong actor at the UN High Level Meeting on TB in September 2018 and in the post-UN HLM accountability processes on fulfilment of the commitments of the Political Declaration.

 

  1. Hepatitis C is no more a neglected disease in Ukraine. APH pioneered Hepatitis C DAA treatment with sofosbuvir and ledipasvir/sofosbuvir making it accessible free of charge for the most marginalized patients. To date 2 162 patients from all over Ukraine have been treated with 95% success rate. These achievements stimulated the Ministry of Health and other international organizations such as MSF to support generic competition and further scale up of Hep C treatment. This year APH in partnership with the Ministry of Justice provided Hepatitis C diagnostic and treatment with DAAs in the penitentiary system to the patients who never received it before – prison population. 50 inmates were treated with 98% treatment success rate!

 

  1. In 2018, APH continued pursuing its ambitious goals in sustaining epidemic control in Non-Government controlled areas (NGCA) of Donbas. Continued support of partner organizations in the area, regular supplies of health products, equipment, as well as maintenance of TB laboratories, help effectively reach TB and HIV affected populations there. As of the end of the year, APH efforts ensured high quality MDR-TB treatment for 585 patients (over 95% of all MDR-TB patients on treatment) those and provision of HIV-prevention services for 16 042 people there. The LANCET dedicated a special article to this APH unique experience of successful working in challenging operating environment.

 

  1. APH continues to strengthen its contribution to the development of programs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia through its partnership with CSO’s and regional projects. As a key implementation partner of TBEC and PAS (Moldova) APH completed a 3-year TB-REP project focused on advocacy and civil society support in 11 countries of the region. Acknowledging Ukraine’s successful experience, the Global Fund has supported a new HIV regional project with a consortium of organizations led by APH. This new regional HIV project focusing on 14 countries will start from January 2019 with the focus on sustainability of services for key populations.

 

  1. Transition of the largest in Eastern Europe and Central Asia opioid substitution therapy program from donor funding to the domestic one is nearly successfully completed with the sufficient budget allocation for further scaling up to over 13 000 patients in 2019:

*allocated budgets/available from different sources for medicine purchase

 

Alliance congratulates all partners and colleagues on the coming New Year and Merry Christmas!

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