January 30, 2023

For almost a year, #HelpNow has been with Ukrainians in 47 countries

Команда #HelpNow HUB підготувала детальний звіт за 2022 рік, в якому розповіла про виклики, досягнення та про те, що сервіс продовжує працювати для кожного українця, де б він не був – #HelpNow поруч і завжди готовий допомогти!

In the first days of March 2022, a week after russia started its full-scale aggression against Ukraine, the APH developed and launched a unique service to support PLHIV and KP, who encountered difficulties in accessing treatment and other necessary services. Leaving their homes and becoming internally displaced persons or refugees in other countries created an additional barrier to access to vital services and jeopardized adherence to treatment and life for such people. #HelpNow has made it easy to reach people in need using various methods. The Hub team can quickly inform these people and direct them to the service they need in their new (temporary) location.

For ten months, from March to December 2022, #HelpNowHUB received more than 15,800 requests from Ukrainians in 47 countries and within Ukraine, coordinating through # HelpNowPL, #HelpNowDE, #HelpNowClinicalHUB and direct social support.

More details in the report:

January 30, 2023

APH Situation Reports on Supporting the Sustainability of Healthcare Programs during the russian War in Ukraine

In the situation of an unprecedented Russian aggression, the Alliance for Public Health is, as always, at the frontlines, fighting for Ukraine and its people. We remain with the people of Ukraine in the struggle for the sovereignty of Ukraine.

February 23,  2023: 365 Days of War: Ukrainian HIV/TB Response Stands Strong!

December 31,  2022: #HelpNow HUB 2022: Support that can’t wait!

December 01,  2022: War crimes and violations of the rights of key communities against the background of russian military aggression

December 01,  2022: World AIDS Day: accelerating HIV response during the war

September 01,  2022: #HelpNow HUB — 6 months being near you to help where you are!

June 20, 2022 situation report: Humanitarian Convoys of the APH: 111 DAYS ON THE ROAD, 111 DAYS OF AID.
June 10, 2022 situation report: VIRAL HEPATITIS C.
June 2, 2022 situation report: 100 days of war. Alliance for Public Health: Response to War Challenges
May 20, 2022 situation report: POST-OCCUPATION: regions liberated from Russian occupation.
May 6, 2022 situation report: Prevention
April 28, 2022 situation report. Internally displaced people and refugees.
April 8, 2022 situation report. Humanitarian aid.
April 4, 2022 situation report. Special issue: Situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Kherson and Kherson region
March 31, 2022 situation report. Special issue: Opioid Agonist Treatment (OAT)
March 26, 2022 situation report
Special Issue: Situation in Mariupol. Situational Report: response of Alliance to challenges caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine
March 21, 2022 situation report
March 14, 2022 situation report
March 8, 2022 situation report

January 19, 2023

Moldova will continue support programmes for refugees from Ukraine in 2023

In 2022, Moldova became one of the countries that not only accepted but also provided meaningful support to Ukrainian war refugees. At the end of February, humanitarian, social, medical, psychological and integration assistance programmes were swiftly rolled out in the country.
The #SoS_2.0 partners of the Initiative Positiva public association, together with the National HIV and TB Program in Moldova and other partners in the country, have launched a special programme to support Ukrainians who need continued treatment for HIV, TB and hepatitis and their loved ones, HIV and COVID-19 treatment, prevention and testing, humanitarian support as well as psychological support services. The #SoS_2.0 regional project team responded rapidly and redirected emergency resources to support the work of #HelpNowHub Moldova for 3 months until the end of June 2022. Today, the hub continues to operate with the support of the national programme and other donors.

“The Alliance for Public Health was one of the first donors to come to Moldova with the financial resources to support needed new programmes when they were urgently needed, in the early days of Russia’s large-scale war against Ukraine. – said Ina Vutkarev, refugee coordinator at the Initiative Positiva. – From the first days Ukrainians started coming to us and then we just started working, not understanding what would happen next and how long it would last. This is how #HelpNowHub Moldova emerged in the very beginning to provide an emergency response during the first months of the war. Today it is already a multi-functional Positive Initiative refugee service which we set up in response to needs and expanded partnerships within the country. We will help for as long as people need our help.”

Representatives of the Alliance for Public Health visited Chisinau on 16-18 February 2023 to discuss with Moldovan partners the results of their cooperation in supporting refugees from Ukraine and new challenges. They had a series of meetings with partners from the Positive Initiative: management, case managers and social workers, psychologists, as well as visited 2 refugee centres, had the opportunity to observe first-hand the process of service provision and to communicate with Ukrainians, currently residing in these centres.

Also during the visit, Ievgen Kushnir, Senior Programme Manager of the Alliance Public Health  met with Ms Angela Kutasevich, Deputy Mayor of Chisinau. They discussed municipal support programmes for refugees from Ukraine and the progress of the Chisinau municipality’s 2022-2025 HIV programme in achieving the 95-95-95 targets for AIDS elimination.

“Moldova’s support for Ukrainians from the first days of the large-scale bloody and brutal military aggression of Russia against Ukraine and the entire civilised world, is invaluable. I am pleased that last spring we were able to quickly find support for the Positive Initiative’s work to create #HelpNowHub to provide specialised care to key populations in the context of HIV and their families,” said Ievgen Kushnir. – Today it is already a multi-functional hub that continues to do its important systemic work. We are very grateful to all partners from Moldova for all that they have done, are doing and will continue to do. Moldova has been our strategic partner in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the level of the EECA region for many years now, and we will continue to work together.”
It should be noted that the 3-month emergency project to support the work of #HelpNowHub in Moldova included the provision of access to the following services for Ukrainian refugees from key populations:
– psychological, social and humanitarian support;
– Support for continuity of ART, OST, TB and hepatitis treatment;
– HIV, COVID-19, syphilis and hepatitis testing and access to harm reduction services.
During April-June 2022, 795 people in Moldova were tested for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis. 161 people received ARV treatment, 11 received TB treatment, 21 were on opioid substitution therapy and 340 benefited from harm reduction services.

January 17, 2023

Mobile clinics of the APH continue providing medical and humanitarian aid to residents of the deoccupied part of Kharkiv region

‘We have nothing to show our gratitude to you, not even a little treat. Let us make you some tea at least!’ And ten minutes later, in the middle of a grim cold landscape of the village that survived occupation and is now experiencing one of its hardest winters, colorful mugs and teapots appear, people start smiling, and — even if it is just because of the tea — it gets warmer.

This is a welcome from Shevchenkove village, one of the destinations of another trip of the ‘MTP: Mobile Treatment Points’ project.

This time, beside Shevchenkove, we travelled to Monachynivka, Prosianka, Vyshnivka and Husinka — the liberated villages in Kupyansk rayon of Kharkiv region.

In a few days, our project enabled almost one and a half people to receive a consultation with a doctor and get the medications they needed right away. We delivered and distributed 300 first aid kits with basic medicines. In the situation where the village has had no health worker for months, and the nearest drugstore is tens of kilometers away, these simple things look like a miracle.

In the villages near the frontline, people just have nowhere to buy basic household chemicals like tooth paste, washing powder or soap. We have brought more than a hundred of individual hygienic kits thanks to NGO Volunteer hundred.

120 food packs will provide the most necessary nutrition to more than a hundred families. And a hundred of kids will have at least a small holiday with sweet gifts.

There are, of course, warm clothes as well, so that the people whose homes were ruined or damaged, who were left without power supply and heating, or were forced away from home by russians, would feel warmth and care despite the freezing cold. We thank Help Ukraine.center in Chełm for warm clothes, hygiene products, medicines and medical equipment for hospitals.

In winter cold, the homes and heating points will be made warm by stoves from Rotary in Ukraine and Rotary Club Kyiv-Sophia (Ukraine).

The people we visited asked us to convey their enormous gratitude. People from the deoccupied territories, those who have see the war in their own yard, who were deprived of their usual way of life because of it, are grateful for attention and help in an especially touching way.

And we know for sure we will not abandon our people. We will withstand if every village, yard and family behind the back of our army will withstand. For that, we continue collecting aid and delivering it to the people who have no-one else to rely on but you and us.

We thank our reliable partners: International Renaissance Foundation and #ChristianAID for financial support, #SAZ for some of the first aid kits and medicines for the clinic’s operations, Kharkov Charitable Fund “Blago” for their help in organizing this trip.

January 12, 2023

The APH Opened a Hostel Shelter for IDP in Downtown Lviv

On January 11, 2023, International Charitable Foundation ‘Alliance for Public Health’ opened Safe Place shelter for internally displaced people (IDP).

The shelter is situated in the downtown, at Solomii Krushelnytskoii str., 3, which is very convenient for newly arriving people who need to resolve pressing logistical issues.

The shelter operates as a hostel with all the amenities. All employees are IDP, so they are best placed for providing peer-to-peer support. Accommodation and dining are free. The shelter can house up to 21 persons. The site will operate as an information hub providing consultations with lawyers, psychologists, social workers and, whenever required, medical counseling for members of key populations vulnerable for HIV, involving Help24 online platform.

‘The shelter is a very important thing, and there is a reason why we named it ‘Safe Place’, because this is what the people coming from temporary occupied territories or hostilities areas require the most. This facility definitely sets new standards for development of shelters, and we really hope it will become an important place for our guests who will be staying here, and an invaluable experience which we will scale up by opening shelters in other cities in 2023’, says Andrii Klepikov, Executive Director of ICF ‘Alliance for Public Health’.

The shelter has already admitted first displaced persons

Several families already dwell at the shelter. Yana and her daughter, Darya, left for Poland when the full-scale invasion started. Then they went back home to Zaporizhzhia. However, the frontline was very close to their home, the shelling intensified, and they were forced to leave home once again, fearing for their lives.

‘When missiles come in from Tokmak, it does make an impact. Thank God, my house is still intact. But this is really terrifying’, told Yana Pavlovska from Zaporizhzhia. The shelter offers broadband Internet connection, which allows her to continue working remotely. She is a history teacher, and she holds online classes for her students right from the shelter.

According to official information, the russian forces have attacked civilian objects 60 times more often than military ones. The most affected by these attacks is infrastructure of near-front cities.

Ukrainians help Ukrainians to restore the life ruined by russia

Because of the russian aggression, millions of Ukrainians have lost their homes. After numerous missile attacks, there are almost 300 thousand applications for compensation of housing submitted by Ukrainians through Diya e-governance app. According to estimates used by the Ministry of Communities and Territories Development, more than 2.4 million Ukrainians were residing in ruined or significantly damaged homes as of the beginning of Q4 2022.

According to the data of the Center for Countering Disinformation of the National Security and Defence Council, as early as six months into war, more than 3.5 million people lost their homes. The situation became worse when winter came and the enemy started targeting energy system; thus, the demand of temporary accommodation has been increasingly growing.

The Lviv shelter is a pilot project that will be used to develop general recommendations on standards and rules for providing such services in Ukraine’, says Anna Horkun, shelter project officer at ICF ‘Alliance for Public Health’.What is special about this shelter is that we support IDP and create jobs for them, and provide peer-to-peer services. All the employees of the shelter are people who have moved to Lviv because of the war; they understand the mentality of the guests, they know how to support, to share the pain and suffering of other people, they speak the same language. It is very important.’

It should be noted that Lviv became one of the major hubs for internally displaced people (IDP) in 2022. According to the Social Protection Administration of Lviv City Council, more than 5 million people have passed through the city. About 200 thousand of them have stayed to live in Lviv. According to official registries, only slightly more than 109.5 thousand Ukrainians have been formally given the status of internally displaced people.

The team of the APH, based on the experience of supporting 25 shelters throughout Ukraine and the operation of the pilot shelter in Lviv, aims to develop basic recommendations on organizing such spaces and create a list of basic services for IDP. The document will be published at https://aph.org.ua for all stakeholders to use.

At the opening event, displaced children made their own little dream houses

The opening event was held in a warm, family-like atmosphere. A master class on making ‘little dream houses’ from gingerbread was organized from children from all around Ukraine who are currently staying in Lviv. And when all the gingerbread homes were already finished, a local Nativity Play, a vertep, visited the shelter.

All the actors were children living in the refugee camp in Lviv. Thanks to a civic activist and art expert Kateryna Kit, the guests of the shelter were able to watch a play adapted to ongoing events in Ukraine, and sing Christmas carols together.

‘For most of internally displaced people, it was the city of Lviv and Lviv oblast that became their safe haven, that is the place where people from all around Ukraine come escaping the war. Indeed, the Lviv region uses its social infrastructure to accommodate the IDP, but it just does not have enough facilities. Therefore, opening a new shelter is important for our city as it helps providing temporary place of stay for IDP who can rest here and receive psychological, legal and other kinds of support’, told Kateryna Kit, a civic activist and art expert.

A sort of visualization of hospitality of Lviv that has already received thousands of Ukrainians were the stickers from the guests and employees of the shelter indicating a town or village they had had to leave.

Within the country we are all at home!

Representatives of the local authorities supported opening of the shelter.

Khrystyna Zamula, Head of Lviv Rayon Administration: ‘I would like to thank you very much for this initiative. It is a great experience, and such projects remain relevant. I really want that people staying here to feel here truly at home! So that we all understood that within the country we are all at home! Thank you for this great initiative.’

Ivan Movchan, an advisor to the Mayor: ‘We are very lucky to live in a country of the bravest people. Last year, Lviv was awarded the title of ‘City Safe for Children’. At the international competition in the capital of Albania, Lviv was awarded the title European Capital of Youth 2025. And opening this ‘Safe Place’ shelter is very symbolic for Lviv; God willing, the Ukrainian Army will make us a safe country.’

Maryana Sluzhynska, Director of Lviv Oblast Public Health Center: ‘I personally, and our Public Health Center in Lviv, we have a great experience of collaboration with the Alliance for Public Health. I would like to once again express my admiration with how humane this organization is, how flexible it is to respond to the changing conditions, and how relevant and timely its initiatives are. Opening this shelter is very much needed in the relatively safe city of Lviv. I wish you success and expanding, so that there are more safe places, not just this ‘Safe Place’ here, and our whole country became safe.’

Contact information of the ‘Safe Place’ shelter:

Address: Lviv, Solomii Krushelnytskoii str., 3 (near Ivan Franko park), 4th floor. If you would like to get accommodation at the shelter, please fill in the form: https://bit.ly/3ivXQdI

Social media: Instagram, Facebook.

Further information about ICF ‘Alliance for Public Health’:

‘Safe Place’ shelter is opened through coordination from ICF ‘Alliance for Public Health’ under ‘Integrated Humanitarian Response in Conditions of War and Post-War Reconstruction’ financed by Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), UK. The project supporting the communities and aimed at meeting their basic humanitarian, social, and medical needs and providing good living standards during the crisis is implemented with the technical assistance from Christian Aid.

Alliance for Public Health has been implementing programs enabling access and supporting adherence to HIV/TB treatment for 22 years. Since the beginning of full-scale war, a number of initiatives and programs have been launched: the Humanitarian Convoy that has transported more than 1 million tons of important goods, and HelpNow HUB, an international emergency support program for Ukrainian refugees abroad. You can learn more about our wartime work from our Situational Reports.

Gallery of pictures of the shelter opening

January 09, 2023

Press Release: IDP Shelter and Support Center to Start Operations in Downtown Lviv

The pros of this safe space are creating jobs for IDP and provision of peer-to-peer services

On Wednesday, January 11, 13:00-15:00, ICF ‘Alliance for Public Health’ will formally open the ‘Safe Place’ shelter in Lviv, at Solomii Krushelnytskoii str. 3 (near the Ivan Franko park) for Ukrainians who have lost their homes or have been displaced because of the russian missile attacks.

In 2022, Lviv became one of the major hubs for internally displaced people (IDP). According to the Social Protection Administration of Lviv City Council, more than 5 million people have passed through the city. About 200 thousand of them have stayed to live in Lviv. According to official registries, only slightly more than 109.5 thousand Ukrainians have been formally given the status of internally displaced people.

‘Today, millions of people in Ukraine require humanitarian, social and psychological support. And Lviv became one of the largest logistical hubs and centers of provision of humanitarian support to the IDP’, says Andrii Klepikov, Executive Director of the ICF ‘Alliance for Public Health’. ‘From the very first days of the war, operations of the Alliance have been fully adapted, and a number of new, most needed services have been implemented. Among 25 shelters supported by the Alliance, this shelter in downtown Lviv is special: it is a pilot project aimed at creating general standards and rules for provision of services for the shelters in Ukraine we are planning to open in other cities as well in 2023.’

The event will be attended by:

  • Andrii Klepikov, Executive Director of ICF ‘Alliance for Public Health’
  • Kateryna Sadova-Kit, spouse of the Mayor of Lviv, who will visit the shelter with a Nativity Play
  • Khrystyna Zamula, Head of Lviv Rayon Administration
  • Ivan Movchan, an advisor to the Mayor
  • Maryana Sluzhynska, Director of Lviv Oblast Public Health Center

Also, some celebrity guests are expected.

During the opening event, there will be a Christmas master class on making a little dream house of gingerbread for children from various parts of Ukraine currently residing in Lviv because of the war, and children already staying at the shelter with their parents.

We invite the media to attend this landmark event in Lviv and get treated to traditional fritters, kutya and strudels.

To receive the press release with photos and comments from participants, please register at https://forms.gle/MZSJrWMew3JnLiXX6


  • Anna Horkun, coordinator of ‘Safe Place’ shelter, (096) 642-7962
  • Inna Havrylova, PR and communicaiton manager at the Alliance for Public Health, gavrylova@aph.org.ua

Related information:

Alliance for Public Health has been implementing programs enabling access and supporting adherence to HIV/TB treatment for 22 years. Since the beginning of full-scale war, a number of initiatives and programs have been launched: the Humanitarian Convoy that has transported more than 1.2 mln tons of cargo; HelpNow HUB, an international emergency support and coordination program for Ukrainians all around the world; we expanded the range of services provided by our 44 mobile ambulatories, and procured bicycles in the regions where the social workers could not reach the patients otherwise; and we expanded the programs of targeted humanitarian, social and psychological support. You can learn more about our wartime work from our Situational Reports: https://bit.ly/safe_place_ua

Currently, Alliance for Public Health supports 25 shelters for refugees and internally displaced people all around Ukraine. Lviv shelter opened today aims to become a base for standardized services that could be reproduced at other sites.

‘Safe Place’ shelter is opened through coordination from ICF ‘Alliance for Public Health’ under ‘Integrated Humanitarian Response in Conditions of War and Post-War Reconstruction’ financed by Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC), UK. The project supporting the communities and aimed at meeting their basic humanitarian, social, and medical needs and providing good living standards during the crisis is implemented with the technical assistance from Christian Aid.

December 23, 2022

#SoS 2.0 summing up of 2022

This year EECA was hit by war and the project had to crisis manage its approaches as well as find new solutions. We are proud  of our partners and donor – that made us succeed in the most challenging of times!


  1. Responding to the greatest after WWII people’s movement – from Ukraine to escape the Russian war, which substantially affected key HIV groups , project partners developed and launched a unique service #HelpNow to support IDP and refugees from among PLHIV and KPs that have faced difficulties in accessing HIV, OAT, TB and HCV treatment and other necessary services in receiving sites or countries. The service includes online platform, treatment linkage service, face-to-face support in Poland, Moldova and Germany and well as online doctors’ consultations and has provided support up to 14,000+ cases to link to treatment and/or other related crucial services in new location.
  2. EECA gaps in services hindering HIV care cascade were addressed by the project through strategic initiatives such as PrEP pilot project in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, scaling-up access to PrEP in North Macedonia (for the first time, PrEP was procured with government funding) and initiating treatment program for stimulant users. Long acting prevention and treatment options are in active exploration.
  3. Thanks to focused advocacy effort, technical support and integrating approach to HIV funding allocation, in 2022 we managed to achieve the allocation of about $457 thousand at the municipal level and $6.2 million at the national level for key populations programs.

  1. Human rights and policies were high on the project agenda.
    During 2022, REAct registered 3500+ cases of human rights violations and discrimination towards PLHIV and KPs in 11 counties of EECA region. REAct unites 150+ NGOs and communities, including regional networks like ECOM, ENPUD, SEE RCN. 43% of clients who contacted REActors – received legal support to restore justice. At the same time, 30% of clients decline to fight for their rights due to fear to be prosecuted or chased. Main perpetrators were the police and medical personnel and we focused our advocacy effort on these groups.

    The Eastern and Central European and Central Asian Commission on Drug Policy (ECECACD) was active to humanize drug legislation, including through visit to Vilnius, Lithuania, a series of meetings with the current and former President, the Speaker of the Seimas, representatives of ministries and agencies and discussion of the draft law on cannabis decriminalization, which was adopted by the commission on human rights before the vote in the Seimas.

  2. The first ever at 15 country scale Women-led gender assessment on barriers to HIV services for women living with HIV, sex workers and women who use drugs was conducted by the project. Preliminary findings list such barriers as: repressive legislation for women living with HIV, sex workers and women who use drugs; little or no gender disaggregated data; gender neutral (or gender blind) interventions in the HIV response, little or no focus on women as a target group; in some countries little or no involvement of women living with HIV, sex workers and women who use drugs in decision-making, policymaking and programming. Studies report will be published in the first half of 2023.
  3. The project worked to reduce negative impact of COVID-19 upon HIV responses in EECA. 120000 rapid tests and 13 vending machines were procured and delivered to the countries, supplied an additional 4 thousand PCRs and supported North Macedonia with the necessary equipment for the treatment of COVID-19, Assessment of the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among blood donors in Ukraine was conducted, Contingency planning Guide for Contingency Planning for Key Population HIV Services was developed for 12 countries, and support provided to shelters for LGBT victims and women who use drugs of rights violations in 7 countries during COVID-19 pandemic.

Go to the official web-site >>>

December 20, 2022

How the violence wheel works and the main steps to stop it in the #REAct webinar series

As part of the international campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence”, the #REAct team held a series of webinars to support, protect and prevent violence against women and girls, especially from vulnerable groups.
At the webinars, among other materials, the participants were presented with the “Wheel of Violence” model, which reveals the reasons why women often return to the abuser, what strategies of psychological violence are most often used before the use of physical violence and what lies at the root of violence. The psychological portrait of the abuser was considered and it was discussed why gender stereotypes can become the basis for violence in the future. This information is a very valuable tool in the effort to end violence against women and girls from Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“An interesting fact is that 20% of the participants were men. It was men who actively participated in the discussion in the webinar chat, and are now actively testing to get a certificate. I am pleased that men want to learn more about the causes and preconditions of gender-based violence – said Victoria Kalyniuk, REAct regional coordinator.
Almost 500 participants from 16 countries joined the webinars: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Tajikistan, Serbia, North Macedonia, Poland, France, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Georgia.
Victoria Kalyniuk noted that understanding the value of this information, easy and understandable format of its presentation is very important to ensure coverage of the maximum number of countries in the region: “We provided translation into 5 languages, the speakers spoke in Ukrainian and the translation was in English, Albanian, Bosnian, Georgian and Russian. And as a result, we saw the active involvement of participants from the countries of the region in the training. The webinar recordings are also available in all five languages.”
Trainer Marta Chumalo shared the key tools for effective assistance to the victim and stabilization of her condition.
Marta Chumalo uses research and scientific basis in her work, she gives social workers and those who work with victims of domestic violence a toolkit to explain to victims in simple words what violence is, why it happens and why, unfortunately, it is repeated.
“I was lucky to get to the offline training of Ms. Marta in Lviv and then I realized that her lectures should be heard by everyone. I really liked the format of teaching: not theory, but clear facts and research that really open the eyes to the preconditions that fuel violence against women and girls,” Victoria shared.
Since women are often afraid to report an act of violence that has happened to them or even blame themselves, one of the important goals of the webinar series was to give social workers clear theses and simple words that can be said to the client so that she understands that the violence that has happened to her is not a normal situation, it should not be so.
“We had an idea to help our social workers in the countries of the region, to learn how best to start this conversation, how to get the victim to open up and talk about her situation so that we could provide the necessary assistance. Through these webinars, we wanted to spread the idea that any gender-based violence is not normal, it is not “ok”,” Victoria added.
The webinars also presented a study by Dobash&Dobash, which explains that it is the deep stereotypical beliefs of perpetrators about the role of women in society and their functions in a couple that are the main cause of violence, not social. Material or psychological background of offenders. The study “The Jane Monckton-Smith Murder Graph” describes what may be the signals that indicate the danger of violence in relationships. After all, the most effective prevention of violence against women is intervention before the first blow is struck.
The most important issues from the webinars were put to the test in order to fix in the memory of the participants the main theses, simple formulations, which, we hope, they will continue to carry them to the masses and change gender stereotypes in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
If you have not yet had time to attend the webinar, you have the opportunity to view the recordings until January 31, 2023. Everyone can listen to them and after passing a short test – get a personalized online certificate.
Learn more: https://react-aph.org/uk/zapys-seriyi-vebinariv-po-protydiyi-genderno-motyvyrovanomu-nasyllyu/

December 14, 2022

International experts have discussed the best practices of Islamic countries in HIV response and implementation of harm reduction programs

Alliance for Public Health and the Malaysian AIDS Foundation (MAF) have held an expert discussion ‘HIV, Harm Reduction and Islam’ to share the experience and present successful mechanisms for implementation of harm reduction and HIV prevention programs in Islamic countries.

Andriy Klepikov, Executive Director at Alliance for Public Health, said that a half of the 14 countries of SoS_project 2.0, the geographically largest Global Fund’s regional project, are Islamic. That is why it is important to study the best practices in HIV response and ensuring more sustainable response through support and coordination with Islamic religious groups and their leaders. This cooperation would be productive and help to significantly accelerate the progress of defeating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in such countries.

The best experience of stopping the spread of HIV

Islam can help to stop the spread of HIV and to provide essential services, including harm reduction ones. Tetiana Deshko, International Programs Director at Alliance for Public Health, said that Malaysia currently has been the most successful in this regard.

Professor Adeeba Kamarulzaman, a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, told about the experience of Malaysia: ‘When we did the advocacy for implementation of harm reduction services, this experience seemd controversial, yet we understood it was necessary. HIV spread among the people injecting drugs was on the rise, and we had too quickly respond and introduce syringe exchange programs and methadone therapy. We encountered resistance from authorities and religious organizations, but we explained and discussed the concept with all stakeholders. We launched a pilot project that proved that such programs are needed and that we can provide the necessary treatment to stop the spread of HIV among people using drugs in Malaysia.’

Role of religious leaders

Using methadone at Ar-Rahman mosque was allowed by religious authorities as it is considered a medication that can be used to tread drug addiction.

‘In Malaysia, we enable the mosque community to develop joint thinking for further improvement of rehabilitation from addictions using innovative methods of the Islamic spiritual influence program,’  told Professor Rusdi Abd Rashid. ‘In particular, we implemented Spiritual Enhanced Drug Addiction Rehabilitation (SEDAR) program in 2010. The goal of the program is to help the government to expand harm reduction intervention in the context of drug use and HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs by involving mosques as a new platform in addition to existing institutions of the Ministry of Health, private clinics, prisons, and the National Drug Agency.’

Nizam Yussuf, treasurer at Ar-Rahman mosque, said that the mosque committee had agreed to adopt the program because it helped people to improve their lives.

Dr. Fazidah Yuswan from the Ministry of Health of Malaysia shared convincing national statistics. In particular, she noted that at the early stages of the epidemic back in 1990s, upt to 90% of all new HIV cases in the country took place among people who use drugs. At the national level, introduction of harm reduction programs began in 2005-2006, and the trend of prevalence of the epidemic started to decrease. By 2021, the number of new HIV cases among people who use drugs had dropped below 5%.

And in 2000s, the epidemy was on the rise. According to estimates made in 2021, introduction of harm reduction had allowed to reduce HIV incidence by 70%. Dr. Yuswan is confident that the harm reduction program has proven its effectiveness in reducing the HIV incidence and opioid dependence.

Dr. Yuswan also mentioned that the responsibility for implementation of the syringe exchange program was placed on the HIV Council under the Ministry of Health of Malaysia. It is the MoH that leads the methadone therapy efforts in the country. These programs were implemented thanks to the support from the religion department, National Drug Agency and the police.

Bamar Gueye representing the National Alliance of Religious and Medical Experts in Health and Development from Senegal told about the experience of his country in implementation of harm reduction programs. In different countries, the programs face similar discussions about how harm reduction programs can be implemented in Islamic states. The example of Senegal is a story of a persistent and open dialogue between various specialists aimed at preserving people’s lives. Now these programs successfully operate and expand.

Religious leaders have a unique role to play being much closer to people

Central Asian countries are making their first steps, but the religious community is not yet ready to accept the HIV response programs.

Kadyr Malikov of Independent Analytical Center ‘Religion, Rights, and Politics’ noted that countries of Central Asia are not yet prepared for either decriminalization or methadone-based substitution therapy because of stereotypes and community’s reluctance. Islamic rules make harm reduction programs difficult or sometimes almost impossible to implement, therefore comprehensive efforts are required as well as political will of local authorities. It takes meetings that have to be used to present international experience and convincing arguments.

Because of their stigma, people living with HIV often avoid seeking aid or disclosing their HIV-positive status and remain helpless. Religious leaders have a unique role to play as they can break the silence and speak up about the suffering of people with drug dependence and offer them a helping hand.

According to Pavel Bém, a member of the EECA Commission on Drug Policy, religious leaders are much closer to people. It is known that HIV is preventable, but the prevention requires leadership and commitment at all levels of the society. It is wrong to rely solely on public authorities and expect them to change the epidemic situation. He says that religious space is an important platform for introducing experience, evidence base, good practices and information communication with the most-at-risk populations, including families of the members of such populations. Religious space is exactly where an open dialogue is possible, where people can speak up about their problems, needs or fears. Developing this level of communications will significantly improve the situation in Islamic countries.

The expert discussion was conducted with the support of SoS_project 2.0, a regional project funded by the Global Fund and implemented by the Alliance for Public Health and a consortium of organizations.

December 12, 2022

Build the World We Want: A Healthy Future for All

‘Build the world we want: a healthy future for all’ is the slogan of this year’s Universal Health Coverage Day #UHCDay which is celebrated worldwide annually on December 12.
For a country which has been resolutely resisting the full-scale russian aggression and essentially fights for peace and democratic future for the whole world, this slogan takes a special meaning. ‘We in Ukraine are really building the world we want without trade offs. A world where every person has their rights, including the right to affordable quality health care’, says Zahedul Islam, Director of Treatment, Procurement and Supply Management department at the APH and a member of the Advisory Group of the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030.
For years, the Alliance for Public Health has been drawing attention of the authorities and the society to the topic of universal health coverage. In all areas of our work, we try to improve access to health and medical social services, especially for vulnerable populations. Two years ago, the APH made a review of the national legislation of Ukraine on HIV/TB/hepatitis and other aspects of protection of the rights and ensuring the access to health services for vulnerable populations. The review focused on legislation’s compliance with recommendations and commitments from the Political Declaration of the UN GA High Level Meeting on #UHC. Based on this review and in cooperation with the key national stakeholders, recommendations were produced and submitted for potential implementation to responsible central executive authorities and committees of the Parliament, as well as to international and non-government organizations for further advocacy.
‘Even though the situation in Ukraine now is very difficult because of the war and the energy terror which have already caused an acute humanitarian crisis and undermined the capacity of the health care system, we need to make our best efforts to ensure that every Ukrainian can receive affordable quality health services wherever they need them. And ahead of the new UN GA High Level Meeting on UHC in September 2023, we once again stress the importance of providing legal guarantees of unhindered access to health care services for all the citizens in the country’, Mr. Islam sums up.
We would like to thank all our partners from public authorities, health institutions and non-government organizations for their dedicated work to ensure access to diagnostic and treatment of socially dangerous diseases for people despite the hostilities and occupation, rocket attacks against peaceful cities and villages, traffic havoc, power shortage, and interruptions in heating and communications. Jointly, we will build the world we want!