May 12, 2016

The COP/ROP16 review meeting

The COP/ROP16 review meeting took place in Bangkok from 30 April to 2 May 2016. The APH and EKHN representatives participated at the meeting representing Ukrainian stakeholders. The 3 days meeting goals were two-folds:

· Finalize any outstanding issues related to the submitted COP/ROP16 sp that it may be approved by the end of the meeting;

· Engage with key global and local stakeholders – community, multilateral, partner government – on shared innovative implementation solutions.

During the meeting, PEPFAR Ukraine team presented an overview of COP15 implementation using results and related systems with brief data review for prevention program and each 90. Following that, COP16 submission was presented confirming the “right places”, “right things”, “right now” and “right way”, includingstrategies for increasing yield and volume of new cases, budget allocation through program area.

PEPFAR Ukraine team presented also responses to issues identifies in headquarter desk review and proposed resolutions, including:

· approach to measuring milestones for above site level activities;

· proposed scenarios for commodity procurement to reach COP16 targets

· current status and future of the procurements

· short update on treatment optimization.

The meeting last day, Ukrainian team together with headquarter teams continued to work on final resolution of critical issues and actions required to obtain COP16 approval. The session was organized in a way that country (Ukraine) and regional (EKHN) programs together with US government, host country government, multilateral, community and civil society representatives can reflect and discuss how Ukraine will achieve epidemic control using shared implementation solutions. Based on structured discussion the COP16 for Ukraine was approved by the Ambassador Birx.

May 12, 2016

Visit to “Gender and Development” (Azerbaijan)

From the 2nd to the 6th of May in the framework of the “Eastern European regional platform on accelerated action for women, girls and transgender people in the context of HIV/AIDS” a specialist of gender-sensitive programs Iaremenko Kateryna, ICF “Alliance for public health”, visiteda partner organization of Eastern European network on key groups’ health “Gender and Development” (Azerbaijan).

 During the visit the analysis of gender component in the structure and activities of the organization, capacity building plan and strategy plan to improve the access of vulnerable groups to HIV treatment and prevention were made. With a view to further cooperation and development of partnerships there were held meetings with the representative of the WHO Jawahir Suleymanova and chairwoman of Clean World Aid to Women Public Union Mehriban Zeynalova

May 12, 2016

Visits to Russia and Moldova project partner organizations

From April 18 to 28, the Director of the ” Eastern European Regional Platform for Accelerated Action for Women, Girls and Transgender in HIV/AIDS Context” project funded by RCNF conducted a field visit to Russia and Moldova based project partner organizations: Non-Profit Partnership “ESVERO” and Public Association “Union for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Harm Reduction in Moldova (UORN)” respectively.

The non-profit partnership to support public health social prevention programmes ESVERO (NP ESVERO) is a non-governmental organization uniting 39 legal entities and individuals from different regions of the Russian Federation involved in delivery of social prevention services to people using drugs and people living with HIV/AIDS. The main direction of our activity is developing integrated low-threshold services for drug users and other vulnerable groups aimed at prevention of HIV, viral Hepatitis and other harmful diseases, providing access to high-quality drug treatment services, HIV treatment, rehabilitation and resocialization.

UORN has over 10 years of experience of public healthcare programs coordination in Moldova. The association is based in Balti Municipality and has a mission to consolidate and coordinate of all the Union member organizations activity, for the developing and promoting of Harm Reduction strategies as an effective Public Health Care in Moldova.

The goals of the visits to the Russian and Moldavian partner organization were four – fold:

1. To get know about the partner organization Board, Staff, structure and key areas of the strategic programs.

2. To raise the RCNF funded project information and visibility both among the ESVERO / UORN membership and civil society/ community in Russia.

3. To conduct an internal assessment of the gender components, gender based approach and gender equality in ESVERO / UORN decision making bodies, programming, implementation, monitoring and evaluation systems.

4. To develop a set of recommendations to sharpen gender equality within decision making procedures and to improve gender based approach in ESVERO / UORN strategic development.

ESVERO and UORN strategy and programs assessment was conducted using a Gender Assessment Tool elaborated to get information on the organization 4 aspects: capacity, culture, accountability and political will. Representatives of the Board, Staff (top management, administrative, technical and supporting) participated in the assessment to ensure the holistic results of the outcomes. Based on the average scores, the set of recommendations was developed for all the 4 aspects and together with ESVERO and UORN management agreed time and responsibilities for the implementation if the recommendations. The Project National Coordinator Ms. E. Romanyak said “The idea to conduct a comprehensive assessment on our organization capacities and skillswas very timely and the outcome will help us to integrate gender based approaches in all steps of our organization undertakings starting from planning and ending by a follow-up planning”.

In framework of the visit to Russia, the project director and project national coordinator visited 2 organization providing services for girls and woman- E.V.A and working with TG – “Transgender” Foundation. These visits had an initiative to boost a cooperation between ESVERO and E.V.A. / “Transgender” Foundation as an community based organizations, as well as to get general overview about the situation of the girls, woman and TG in Russia in terms of the access to the HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programs and public healthcare in general.

In Moldova, the team visited one of the partner organization based in Chisinau and providing services for girls and woman- Mothers for Life. The visit had an initiative to boost a cooperation between UORN and MfL as an community based organization, as well as to get general overview about the situation of the girls, woman and TG in Moldova in terms of the access to the HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programs and public healthcare in general. During the visit round-up, the UORN Board member and the Director of Falesti District Hospital of the MoH of Moldova, Mr. I. Osoianu said: “The project initiative to tackle the gender equality issues into HIV/AIDS programs will help our organization to become one of the leading advocates in overcoming existing barriers in achieving the goal90/90/90 in Moldova”.

The project team met also with the representatives of WHO office in Moldova and agreed to get a legal copyright for the translation and using of the WHO document “Transgender Policy Brief” into Romanian language. WHO office agreed also to print the document in several copies for our project partners which is good start of the collaboration between the project and UN agencies.

April 29, 2016

High-level meeting in Copenhagen

During 26-28 April 2016 the intercountry high level meeting on health systems strengthening for enhanced tuberculosis prevention and care: Regional Eastern European and Central Asian Project (TB-REP) is taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. This meeting is jointly organized by WHO/Europe and the Global Fund to Fight TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria, and involves other project partners and supporters such as the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The meeting gathered decision-makers from 11 countries of EECA region. On the first day of the meeting the stakeholders received information about the project and the strategic benefits for countries, as well as an understanding of the vital importance of high-level political commitment. The second and third days will address technical aspects of the project, including health financing, TB prevention and care service delivery, and human resources’ development.

ICF “Alliance for Public Health” is a Partner of the TB-REP project which acts on behalf of the TB Europe Coalition in coordinating the high level advocacy efforts with the grass root advocacy of the CSOs in the EECA countries of the TB-REP. Alliance for Public Health at this intercountry high level meeting represented by Director of the Treatment Procurement and Supply Management Department, Dr. Sergii Filippovych, and Manager on TB advocacy, Yuliya Chorna.

Ukrainian delegation includes also representatives of Ministry of Health of Ukraine, namely Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Ihor Perehinets, Director of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Svitlana Ostashko, Deputy Head of the International Department, Ms. Olesia Tsykaliuk.
Read more about meeting objectives, Tuberculosis action plan here

April 28, 2016

The Global Fund Board Approved New Strategy 2017-2022

On 26-27 April 2016, the Global Fund Board held its 35th meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The Board approved a new strategy “The Global Fund Strategy 2017-2022: Investing to End Epidemics” aimed at maximizing impact, strengthening systems for health, promoting and protecting human rights and gender equality, and mobilizing additional resources. Also the Board approved several key documents reflecting the main decisions made at the meeting: eligibility policy, new policy on sustainability, transition and co-financing, challenging operating environments policy and methodology for the 2017-2019 allocations.

The three civil society delegations – Developing Countries NGOs, Communities and Developed Countries NGOs – worked hard to defend their positions, in partnership with Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean as well as other constituencies. The Alliance for Public Health (Alliance) was represented by its Executive Director Andriy Klepikov, who is a member of the Developing Countries NGOs delegation. Natalia Nizova, Head of the Ukrainian Center for Socially Dangerous Disease Control of the Ministry of Health, also participated in the meeting as a member of the Ukrainian delegation.

Essential changes:
– Key population adjustment was added, namely the “Adjustment factor for populations disproportionately affected by HIV and TB, and in low endemicity malaria settings” to the list of qualitative factors to calculate the country allocations.
– During the clarification process, participants received assurance that sustainability & transition policy will be applicable to those countries currently transiting. Besides, to ensure successful transitions a greater emphasis was put on the transition readiness report. According to the changes introduced to the policy, for the greater assurance that transition process is going right, regular updates will be provided to the Strategy Committee.

– At this stage, the catalytic funding was approved for $800 million in addition to the country allocations. In case of successful replenishment exceeding USD 13 billion, there is a commitment that the Strategy Committee will review and increase the catalytic investments.

“Not all the changes we proposed have been accepted, there are still some serious concerns in regard to the new allocation model. The new methodology shifts primary focus to the countries with the highest burdens of the diseases and least economic capacity. The new formula will unavoidably lead to reduction of funding for middle-income countries with concentrated epidemics. Unfortunately, the new allocation formula will result in reduction of funding for two regions with the most rapidly growing HIV epidemics – Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and Middle East and North Africa. In comparison with the previous allocation approach for 2014-2016, the new allocation model in practice will lead to reduction of the share of funding for Eastern Europe and Central Asia from 4.7% to 2.4%, and for Middle East and North Africa – from 8.3% to 5.7%. Latin America and Caribbean will be given the smallest allocation in the new model – 2%. That is why the qualitative adjustments to the formula, up to $800 million catalytic funding, and another up to $800 million to ensure scale-up, impact and pace reduction, are critical to ensure for adequate response to the three diseases in our countries”, – summarized Andriy Klepikov, member of the Developing Country NGOs Delegation to the Global Fund Board, Executive Director of Alliance.

April 27, 2016

Patient-oriented models of TB treatment in Ukraine are prioritized

On April 21, 2016 in Ministry of Health of Ukraine was held the working meeting of all the stakeholders involved in the development of a national targeted social program to combat tuberculosis in the 2017-2021. The program of the working meeting included discussion the development of the outpatient treatment system of TB patients in Ukraine.

The meeting was attended by Director of the Public Health Department of the MOH of Ukraine S. Ostashko, representatives of the WHO Office in Ukraine, Chairman of the commission to terminate the SI “Ukrainian Center for Social Disease Control of the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine” N. Nizova, managers of international projects in the field of combating tuberculosis USAID, PATH, ICF “Alliance for Public Health”, Abt Associates, representatives of TB services in Donetsk, Vinnitsa, Poltava, Sumy, Dnepropetrovsk region, Kiev city, which introduced the pilot model of outpatient treatment of TB patients, representatives of the National Institute of Tuberculosis and Pulmonology of F. Yanovsky and representatives of the public organization “Social movement “Ukrainians against TB”.

With a welcoming statement to participants of the meeting appealed: Director of the Public Health Department of the MOH of Ukraine S. Ostashko, Director of the treatment, procurement and supply management department of ICF “Alliance for Public Health” S. Filippovych, medical adviser for TB, MDR-TB, TB / HIV activities of the WHO Country Office in Ukraine A. Slavuckij. Each of the speakers emphasizes the importance of joint efforts by all stakeholders for the preparation of high-quality national program.

The participants discussed the concept of health financing reform in Ukraine and the preliminary results of development of the new system of TB services’ financing.

Project Manager: TB Advocacy Y. Chorna, ICF “Alliance for Public Health” presented the aims and objectives of the regional project “TB in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Project on Strengthening Health Systems for Effective TB and DR-TB Control » (TB-REP).

The head of the public organization “Social movement “Ukrainians against TB” V. Rudenko acquainted all participants with the objectives of the advocacy strategy for the implementation of outpatient TB treatment models in Ukraine within the framework of the regional project TB-REP.

Representatives of TB services in the pilot regions of Ukraine presented the results of the implementation of outpatient treatment models of TB patients, the basic steps, barriers and suggestions to overcome them.
Participants of the meeting expressed their understanding of the need for determination and establishment of best practices experiences and their reflection in their national target social program to combat tuberculosis in the 2017-2021.

2 (1)

Presentation of the TB-REP project at the national level

Discussion of the experience of implementing the outpatient TB treatment models in the regions

Discussion of the experience of implementing the outpatient TB treatment models in the regions

April 27, 2016

WHO updated its Hepatitis C treatment Guidelines

In April 2016, the World Health Organization issued the updated Guidelines for the screening, care and treatment of persons with chronic hepatitis C infection.

The first version of the Guidelines was published in 2014. Since then, new direct acting antivirals (DAAs) have been introduced, allowing to improve cure rates up to 90% or higher, minimize side effects and shorten the duration of treatment.

In the updated version of the Guidelines, the peginterferon and ribavirin regimens were replaced with regimens using new-generation DAAs (taking into account specifics of certain patient groups). Telaprevir and boceprevir, as well as their combinations with peginterferon and ribavirin, are no longer recommended for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.

Ludmila Maistat, Senior Programme Manager: Hepatitis/HIV Policy and Advocacy in Alliance for Public Health, who is a member of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee for Viral Hepatitis, participated in the development of 2014 Guidelines as well as their updated version.

It is expected that the Guidelines will be regularly updated with the introduction of new drugs and regimens.

You may find the policy brief here.

April 14, 2016

International Liver Congress 2016 is the annual EASL meeting

On 13-17 April 2016, Barcelona hosts an annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Liver (EASL) – International Liver Congress, ILC 2016.

 Every year, this Congress is attended by over 10,000 participants: doctors, hepatologists, scientists, representatives of pharmaceutical companies, microbiologists, and government officials of the member states. This event is a great opportunity to share professional achievements and develop effective strategies.

Ludmila Maistat, Senior Program Manager: Hepatitis, Alliance for Public Health presented the results of the effective work to expand access to HCV treatment in Ukraine and in EECA region. Significant updates and important comments to the presentation on the access to treatment were made by Professor Olga Holubovska, the main independent infectious disease doctor of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, head of the infectious disease department of the Bogomolets National Medical University.

Tetyana Barnard, Project Manager: HCV Treatment, Alliance for Public Health also took part in the Congress as a part of the Ukrainian delegation.

Within the Congress, members of the Ukrainian delegation will take part in a number of meetings with key partners and international stakeholders with a view to expand Alliance programs in Ukraine, strengthen cooperation with partners and develop a plan of further steps.

April 14, 2016

Europe shapes new action plans on viral hepatiti

Two advisory committees met in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 4–5 April 2016 to guide new action plans on HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis for the WHO European Region.

The importance of this rigorous consultation process was highlighted, especially for the action plan on viral hepatitis, as it is the first plan on the prevention and control of viral hepatitis in the WHO European Region.

The aim of the new HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis plans is to boost efforts to achieve zero new HIV and hepatitis infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths in the region.

52 experts, representing ministries of health, national HIV and hepatitis programs, civil society organizations, academia, United Nations agencies, major partner organizations, WHO headquarters, country offices and WHO collaborating centers took part in the discussions.

At the advisory committee, Ukraine was presented by Ludmila Maistat, Senior Program Manager: Hepatitis, Alliance for Public Health and Professor Olga Holubovska, the main independent infectious disease doctor of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, head of the infectious disease department of the Bogomolets National Medical University. Alliance for Public Health cooperates with the Ministry of Health to expand access to the effective programs of treatment for members of key vulnerable groups as well as general population, to develop a new National Program of Hepatitis Treatment for 2017-2021 in line with the new WHO recommendations and to strengthen cooperation at the national and regional levels.

Ukrainian representatives were part on the advisory committee which prepared an action plan for the European region, which was developed at the World Health Assembly and will be adopted in May 2016.

You can learn more about the meeting here

April 14, 2016

Recruitment into HCV Treatment Project is Underway

In March 2016, the first phase of the Project “Scaling up accessible and effective HCV treatment through community-based treatment model for most vulnerable populations in the resource-constrained Ukraine” was successfully competed. Meanwhile, recruitment of patients for the second phase of the project is underway.

Since June 2015, 450 patients representing key populations got access to HCV treatment in 11 healthcare facilities within the first phase of the project, which is 80% more than the planned indicator. Increasing the number of treatment courses available was possible due to the use of pegylated interferon procured within the state budget, which allowed reducing the duration of treatment to 12 weeks and increasing the number of courses.

As of 1 April 2016, 183 new patients received access to hepatitis C virus (hereinafter – HCV) treatment within the second phase of the project, and thus the total number of patients covered with treatment is 633 people.

93% participants of the first phase had HIV, and 94% of them received ART. 80% were people injecting drugs, with 8% of them being OST program clients. 15% of project participants had previous treatment failures when treated with two-component regimen: pegylated interferon + ribavirin. The success of innovative treatment is proved with sustained virological response observed in 90% of patients.

List of criteria for enrolment into the second phase of the project, list of healthcare facilities offering HCV treatment and NGOs providing support to patients may be found here.