Today is exactly a month since the terrible war in Ukraine started. On 24 February 2022, unprecedented military aggression against the civilian population of our country began. Every day, hundreds of women, children and elderly people are killed and injured in Ukrainian cities and villages hit by the enemy’s air strikes and shelling. Millions of Ukrainians have to leave their homes and seek refuge in the West. Those who are not able to leave, spend weeks in basements and bomb shelters, not suitable for long stay, without proper air ventilation or sanitation; many of them have no electricity, connection, medicines or food…
In these dire conditions, people with tuberculosis (TB) have become even more vulnerable due to the threat of treatment interruption and late diagnosis.
In spite of the danger, our partner NGOs in the regions of Ukraine are doing the impossible! They selflessly continue providing medical and psychosocial support to people with TB: they are reviewing their needs, which have increased greatly during the war, delivering food and hygiene kits and providing people with medicines, which is especially important considering unstable transport connections.
Even in the regions facing a humanitarian crisis, patients with sensitive and drug-resistant TB still receive treatment and humanitarian aid. In occupied Kherson, 332 patients receive therapy and social support on a timely basis and afterwards together with NGO employees go to the rallies against Russian occupation. In Donetsk, Kyiv and Mykolaiv regions, which are under daily artillery shelling and missile attacks, partner organizations supported by Alliance provide support to over 900 patients. They do it in basements and bomb shelters. Many patients had to leave their homes and seek not only refuge but also treatment in other safer regions. For over two weeks, there is no connection with TB patients and social workers in Mariupol. We have no idea if they are still alive.
Alliance is providing humanitarian aid to inpatient hospital departments offering treatment to people with TB on the territories with active hostilities. As for the patients transitioned to outpatient care, they are under medical and psychosocial supervision. To support such patients, Alliance in cooperation with partners developed a mechanism of patient referral and information sharing among NGOs.
Since the first days of the war, together with our partner NGOs in the regions of Ukraine and in cooperation with the Public Health Center we do everything possible to save the lives and health of people affected by TB and their communities. Alliance has been involved in the procurement, arrangement and delivery of humanitarian aid. As well as all our partners in the country, we work round the clock seven days a week to help people during the war, but it may be not enough.
Historically, TB outbreaks have been seen in the times of military conflicts. They happened after World War I and World War II. The same will happen after Ukraine-Russia war! The longer it lasts, the bigger and the more dangerous the new TB outbreak will be.
That is why, recognizing the support of our international partners, who help us in word and in deed in these hard times for our country, we call the international community to make its efforts even stronger! You must increase the pressure of sanctions against the aggressor and scale up the humanitarian support to Ukraine. Let this year’s slogan of the World TB Day be Invest to End
TB War in Ukraine. Save Lives.