Just before the Ukraine’s Independence Day, Alliance for Public Health (hereinafter – Alliance) receives international accreditation with the highest standards. It has been accredited by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (UK). This news is shared with donors, UN agencies and other international institutions.
Alliance has received the highest professional accreditation to confirm that it complies with nine principles in the areas “Governance and Sustainability”, “Organisational Management” and “HIV Programming” based on 38 standards. Currently it is the only organization in Eastern Europe and Central Asia with such accreditation.
It means that Alliance for Public Health has officially confirmed its compliance with a list of the highest standards applied to all the organizations, which are part of the global partnership of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance – international charitable organization supporting projects in response to the epidemics in cooperation with communities in over 40 countries of the world on four continents. The accreditation will be valid for four years until 2022.
“Alliance for Public Health demonstrates strong governance and organizational management skills, ensures the highest quality and the best practices in its program activities. The committee extends its compliments to the Alliance for Public Health for being a strong organization and part of the global Alliance partnership,” emphasized Warren Buckingham III, Chair of the Alliance Accreditation Committee.
“In our activities, we adhere to the highest standards, and it is not only our choice, but a strong requirement. If we could not comply with it, we would fail our accreditation. We are grateful to the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and to all our national and international partners for their support and longstanding partnership in countering the dangerous epidemics,” said Andriy Klepikov, Executive Director of Alliance for Public Health.
Alliance for Public Health has been working in Ukraine for over 17 years. It is an official co-implementer on the National Targeted Social Program to Counter HIV/AIDS in 2014-2018 approved by the Law of Ukraine N 1708-VII dated October 20, 2014. Within this program, over 300 thousand members of key populations receive HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis C treatment and prevention services. Alliance implements the biggest program in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
International professional accreditation will allow Alliance to continue working even more successfully not only in Ukraine, but also at the international level. Today Alliance is already implementing projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Switzerland. As of mid-year 2018, Alliance Technical Support Hub was providing its services in 57 countries.
On August 13-15, 2018, Kyiv hosted a workshop “Integrated Approach to Treating MAT Patients” organized by Alliance for Public Health within the project “Improved Quality and Sustainability of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in Ukraine” (CDC) in cooperation with the Addiction Transfer Technology Center in Ukraine or ATTC-Ukraine (SAMHSA).
The workshop was attended by doctors, nursing personnel, psychologists, case managers and social workers of MAT sites from the priority regions of the PEPFAR (US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) program.
Trainers delivering the workshop were recognized experts in prevention and treatment of addictions from the USA, who provide their expertise and training support to improve the quality of HIV prevention and drug treatment in Ukraine. The group of trainers was headed by Dr. Igor Koutsenok, international expert in prevention and treatment of addictions, Professor of Psychiatry at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Director of the UCSD Center for Criminality & Addiction Research, Training & Application, Director of ATTC-Ukraine.
At the workshop, the participants had a chance to learn about the international evidence-based approaches to motivational interviewing, the methods of cooperation for multidisciplinary teams and the development of patient management programs. They studied the theoretical concepts presented and were able to review clinical cases with further demonstration interviews. A focus was made on the achievement of Fast Track targets.
Besides, the participants learned about problem-based learning and the ECHO model. At the end of the workshop, the participants and the trainers discussed the most pressing issues of implementing MAT in Ukraine to plan further improvement of the quality of MAT programs.
Currently, Alliance is an official co-implementer on the National Targeted Social Program to Counter HIV/AIDS in 2014-2018 approved with the Law of Ukraine N 1708-VII dated October 20, 2014, under which access to medication-assisted treatment is provided to over 10.5 thousand patients in 190 treatment institutions of various profiles in Ukraine.
Alliance would like to express its gratitude to the partners of ATTC-Ukraine project, Ukrainian and international experts for delivering this workshop as well as its hope for further fruitful cooperation.
New levers of change in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Global Fund awarded multi-country project to the Alliance led regional consortium
On July 31, 2018, the Global Fund announced its decision on the approval HIV multi-country project
‘Sustainability of services for key populations in EECA region’ submitted by consortium of regional organizations from Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) – Alliance for Public Health, All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH 100% Life, Central Asian PLWHA Association and Eurasian Key Populations Health Network (EKHN), together with technical partners and TB People. The proposal incorporated contributions from Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
The Global Fund informed that the application from Alliance-led regional consortium was approved in full amount with the total budget over $ 10.5 million for three years (2019-2021).
The main objective of this project is to ensure the sustainability of services for key populations and to substantially improve the HIV cascade in the key countries of the EECA region.
“EECA is nearly the only region globally with rising HIV infections. We have very ambitious targets: to stop this dangerous trend and to make services for key populations accessible and sustainable in our region. We are ready to cooperate and join efforts with all partners to make national funding for key populations a reality!’, – stated Andriy Klepikov, Executive Director of Alliance for Public Health.
“Nine countries with high levels of HIV in the region will be able to use technologies and solutions that have already proven effective. We, as the largest patient organization, are ready to partner with our colleagues to provide access to treatment, services and resources for all key populations and patients,” – said Dmitry Sherembey, Head of Coordination Council, 100% Life.
Although the main focus of the project is HIV, the consortium of regional organizations will be working closely with the multi-country TB project which will be implemented by a consortium led by PAS Center (Moldova) in 2019-2021 with the support of the Global Fund.
This is the joint victory of national, regional and international partners and the consortium is looking forward to implementing the work together.
On July 27, 2018, the Alliance for Public Health (Alliance), together with 10 partner organizations in Kyiv, held a traditional all-Ukrainian awareness-raising event dedicated to the World Hepatitis Day. Those wishing to be tested for hepatitis C had the opportunity to do this in the mobile ambulances absolutely free of charge, receive a qualified consultation from doctors and social workers, and receive information materials on the transmission, testing, prevention and treatment of viral hepatitis.
300 million people in the world are suffering from viral hepatitis, among them 71 million people have viral hepatitis C!
Unfortunately, our country continues to maintain a sad leadership in the rate of increase in the number of patients with hepatitis C and B. World Health Organization (WHO) included Ukraine, the only country from European continent, in the list of 28 countries with the highest burden of viral hepatitis. According to the WHO, from 3% to 5% of the population of Ukraine has been infected with hepatitis C, in absolute terms – from 1 to 2 million people. That means that every twentieth patient who sits in the dentist’s chair or every twentieth client who has manicure done may be the carrier of this infection. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of them even do not guess about it!
“The main objectives of our action are to attract public attention to the problem of viral hepatitis and raise the level of awareness of the population about the ways of transmission, testing and treatment of viral hepatitis,” said Anna Vorotyntseva, the Head of the International Charitable Foundation “Vertical”. – Therefore, those who want can take the hepatitis C test free of charge during the event and immediately receive qualified counseling on the prevention and diagnosis of viral hepatitis and immediate action in case of an infection. After all, the problem of hepatitis concerns everyone.”
“Because of the spread of the epidemic in Ukraine, nobody can feel safe, because the virus is waiting in a variety of places – beauty salons, dental offices, tattoo and piercing studious, etc. The disease has long gone beyond the marginalized groups. In order to protect themselves and their relatives from hepatitis C it is necessary: first, to have information about the virus, ways of transmission of the disease, and secondly, at least once a year to pass a quick test, in order to monitor your own health. Only by joining forces – will we be able to beat the hepatitis and save thousands of lives! “- notes Eugene Sklyarenko, Project coordinator of the All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization “Convictus Ukraine”.
That is why the main objective of this year’s campaign, in addition to the importance of testing, was the need to inform the public about the expansion of the opportunities for the treatment of hepatitis C in Ukraine and the need for timely treatment. Indeed, nowadays in Ukraine, thanks to many years of work of the Alliance for Public Health, partner organizations and leading medical institutions, the treatment of viral hepatitis C has become even more affordable and effective. Alliance was the first to begin to use the highly effective hepatitis C treatment with modern direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment even when nobody heard about them in Ukraine. The advantage of DAA products is that they are well tolerated by patients, almost do not cause side effects and provide a high treatment result.
“To date, the Alliance for Public Health has already provided free treatment for viral hepatitis for 2162 patients with the most advanced drugs available through partner hospitals. We have established a rather high level of confirmed level of successful treatment at 95%, according to clinical research data. The percentage of retention on treatment within the Alliance’s programs is 98%. We even provided a separate quota for 40 courses for antiterrorist operation participants. Such results stimulate the state to appropriately expand treatment for the state budget and purchase medicines from producers at the lowest price that we managed to achieve four years ago, ” – Pavlo Skala, Associate director of policy and partnership, regarding the experience of the Alliance for Public Health
Today, the procurement cost of one course of treatment (for 3 months) per person costs for the state budget about $900. This price is, perhaps, one of the lowest in the world for the procurement of medicines from hepatitis C. For comparison, in 2015, the course of treatment for viral hepatitis C with direct antiviral drugs in Ukraine cost thousands of dollars and was almost unattainable for most of our fellow citizens due to the high cost. But, precisely thanks to the work of the Alliance and our partners, the cost of direct antiviral drugs for Ukraine has been reduced tenfold.
In 2017, the Alliance for Public Health, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, for the first time introduced a set of measures for the examination and treatment of viral hepatitis C for 50 HIV-infected prisoners. Today, according to the results of the research carried out among inmates s who have already undergone hepatitis C treatment, we see its effectiveness is 98%!
This year’s campaign “Hepatitis C: Time to test. Time to treat!” in Kyiv was organized by the Alliance for Public Health in partnership with the International Charitable Foundation (ICF) “Vertical”, the Kyiv City Center for Social Services for Family, Children and Youth, All-Ukrainian Charitable Organization “Convictus Ukraine”, the Kyiv City Public Health Center, ICF “Drop In Center”, Charitable Organization (CO) Club “Enei”, Charity Fund “Hope and Faith”, CO “ALLIANCE. GLOBAL”, Red Cross Society of Ukraine and ICO “Positive Women”.
It is possible to do a test for viral hepatitis in 10 minutes independently at home, by purchasing an ordinary quick test in a pharmacy network. WARNING! The positive result of a quick HCV test is not the basis for establishing a final diagnosis. It is necessary to consult a doctor!
National Hotline for Viral Hepatitis: 0-800-50-33-10
(all calls within Ukraine are free).
In the world, more than 71 million people are infected with hepatitis C, and from 1 to 2 million people with hepatitis C live in Ukraine. Most of them are unaware of their disease, since 80% of the disease is asymptomatic. One of the priority directions of the activity of the Alliance of Public Health is to combat the spread of the epidemic of viral hepatitis C in Ukraine and to provide diagnosis and treatment of HCV to vulnerable groups of the population. In 2012, the Alliance initiated an All-Ukrainian campaign “Demanding Treatment”, the main purpose of which is to increase access to diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C virus in Ukraine. From 2015, with the support of the Alliance, hundreds of patients with viral hepatitis C in Ukraine for the first time began to receive free modern treatment, after which similar medicines were officially registered and started to be procured by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine for the state budget
Media about event:
- Online media “Novoe vremya”
- Radio Gromadske
- TV-channel “ZIK”
- TV-channel “24”
- TV-channel “1+1”
- TV-channel “112”
- TV-channel “5»
- TV-channel “NewsOne”
- TV-channel “Espreso”
- TV-channel “STB”
- TV-channel “TRK Kyiv”
- Radio Svoboda
- Radio Gromadske
- Online media Ye.ua
- TV-channel “Pravda Tyt”
Workshop ‘Zero TB Initiative: Strategies to eliminate TB one community at a time’ conducted in Dubai
On July 15-16, over 90 physicians, implementers, and researchers from 22 countries gathered in Dubai, UAE to discuss implementation strategies for an integrated approach to seeing out and treating both TB disease and TB infection. Among the group were representatives from ‘Fast-Track HIV/TB responses for key populations in EECA cities’ project and Alliance for Public Health. The group first reviewed the scientific evidence showing that actively searching for and treating both TB disease and TB infection is necessary to eliminate TB, presenting case studies from both historical and recent examples. Representatives from several coalitions including Zero TB Karachi, Zero TB Bangladesh, and TB Free Chennai then presented the ways in which they have designed and implemented integrated programs to search for and treat both TB infection and TB disease, highlighting the practical considerations important in designing such programs. The Zero TB Initiative (ZTBI) is working across the world to create islands of elimination with strong local partners in high-burden areas. You can learn more about the initiative here. The Heads of TB Service from Almaty, Odesa, Sofia and Tbilisi and the Head of Health from Balti shared information on TB programs in their cities among each other and identified ways to improve the situation with TB in the cities.
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!
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.
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. Don’t 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.
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The global Support. Don’t 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. Don’t 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/
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.