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Slightly smaller than Texas, the Eastern European country of Ukraine is home to some 44.4 million people. Health outcomes are poor, with Ukrainians on average living 11 fewer years than other Europeans.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, currently account for 86 percent of all deaths in Ukraine each year. The World Bank reports that the vast majority of these “excess deaths” occur at relatively young ages, between 15 and 60, noting that about 85 percent of all deaths in 2012 were linked to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and external causes, including accidents and poisoning. Other contributing factors include a high prevalence of tobacco and alcohol use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy dietary choices. This underscores the need for strong primary care and prevention services, coupled with effective patient education and outreach programs — particularly for children and adolescents.
Ukraine has long been one of the countries in the region that has been the hardest hit by the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. Approximately 1.2 percent of adults between the ages of 15 and 49 are living with HIV, which translates to an estimated 290,000 people. About 6,800 children under the age of 14 are living with the virus.
According to WHO’s European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies’ health system review (HiT), the country’s health system is largely still rooted in the Soviet model with one main difference — extreme decentralization of financing. Ukraine’s healthcare expenditures are low by regional standards and have not increased significantly in proportion to gross domestic product (GDP) since the mid-1990s. While access to health facilities or trained healthcare providers is not a problem, increasing rates of preventable morbidity and mortality serve to highlight existing health system weaknesses.
AIHA has a long history of implementing successful capacity building programs in Ukraine thanks to support from USAID, CDC, WHO, GIZ, UNICEF, and the International AIDS Alliance, which was the principle recipient of the Global Fund.
Click here for a PDF overview of AIHA’s HSS/HRH projects in Ukraine.
- Currently implementing a 5-year PEPFAR blood safety project funded by CDC to support the implementation of programs improving national safe blood systems and precautions against the medical transmission of HIV (2012-2017)
- Managed 12 USAID-supported healthcare partnerships (1992-2008)
- Managed a USAID-supported national project to scale up PMTCT services (2005-2007)
- Served as the prime implementing partner of WHO/Europe’s Regional Knowledge Hub for the Care and Treatment of HIV/AIDS in Eurasia (2004-2013; located in Kyiv 2004-2009)
Snapshot of Key Accomplishments of AIHA’s Programs in Ukraine:
- Series of trainings on blood services quality management and technical operations for local health workers, infrastructure strengthening for the Ministry of Health
- 10 Primary Care or Family Medicine Centers established in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, L’viv, Odessa, and Uzhgorod; many tailored services to meet specific needs of local populations, such as student health in Kharkiv and miner’s health in Donetsk; some served as clinical training sites
- 7 Women’s Wellness Centers established in Kramatorsk, Kyiv (2), L’viv, Odessa, and Uzhgorod; special breast health centers established in Kyiv, L’viv, and Odessa in response to high rates of breast cancer in these cities
- 3 EMS Training Centers established in Donetsk, Kyiv, L’viv
- 6 Neonatal Resuscitation Training Centers in Dnepropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, L’viv, and Odessa; the training curriculum adopted by the Ministry of Health as the national standard for medical education
- Transfusiology curriculum currently under development in collaboration with the National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education, activities for harmonization of local policies with EU directives for blood services
- Reduced mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 75 percent at PMTCT pilot sites in high-prevalence oblasts throughout the country
- Odessa WWC pioneered community-based HIV care and support for women living with HIV at a time when the only treatment sites were AIDS Centers; they also established the Southern Ukrainian AIDS Education Center, which was a regional center of excellence in PMTCT