Union BlogOn December 6, 2017 the Global Fund (hereafter, GF) Board informed National Council on TB/HIV/AIDS (NCC) about approved funding decision for Ukraine, which means three more years 2018-2020 of donor support to address HIV and TB in the country.

The current proposal foresees 48 646 090 USD for TB, which is by far more solid investment in fight against TB, especially in comparison to the previous GF grant, where the TB control and prevention efforts were limited to procurement of drugs for MDR TB and some lab equipment. The TB community in comparison to HIV civil society is rather underdeveloped. Being TB activist is not a popular choice amongst civil society in Ukraine mainly due to two reasons: first of all, stigma and discrimination following TB is remains large, and secondly, the funding opportunities for TB civil society organizations are considerably less in comparison to HIV related funding. But with increase of funding for TB from the GF we hope that the situation will change for better.

To address this issue, Ilona Yeleneva, member of NCC, representing International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGO) Constituency this year, called for mobilization of various different civil society organisations, providing services to newly emerged risk groups: mobile population (we have 1.5 million Internally Displaced People (hereafter, IDPs) in the country), people with diabetes and demobilized soldiers. The advocacy efforts resulted in a new budget line in the GF grant, which will help us to pilot new services of TB detection among IDPs and will help to establish the real picture: is it really the case that IDPs in Ukraine are vulnerable for TB? Unfortunately, available TB data are scarce, proving that there is a gap in detection of TB.

To provide an opportunity to learn and share the best practices in the TB prevention, control and treatment this year TB European Coalition supported its member Ilona Yeleneva trip to the Union global conference on Lung Health.

The delegation from Ukraine was pretty small, including Ilona Yeleneva, the Director of Labor and Health Social Initiatives, two other representatives from international NGOs implementing GF and USAID funded initiatives in TB field in Ukraine, representatives of the national Public Health Centre and the deputy from Ukrainian Parliament, Mr. Serhiy Kiral supporting TB movement in Ukraine as a member of Global TB Caucus.

Mobile population
Since 2014, Ukraine is experiencing a military conflict, affecting the whole population and resulting in 1.5 million IDPs continuously in search of shelter and employment opportunities. According to WHO and the Stop TB Partnership, IDPs are amongst the most vulnerable population. IDPs is a new TB focus group in Ukraine and there is little experience in approaching them in terms of TB prevention and control. During the conference Ilona Yeleneva were able to learn about experience of other countries managing TB in emergency setting as well as attended the TB and Migration Working group and learned about challenges and approaches from neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Kazakhstan and other countries that have more experience in working with mobile population. It was the first time Ukraine voiced this challenge at the international level. She also made couple propositions during the workshop discussion to provide more training and study opportunities regarding work with IDPs/mobile population in urban setting (the same specific is true for Turkey and several other countries, since very few IDPs live in rural settlements/camps in Ukraine); and to provide educational opportunities (webinars, on-line courses etc.) on the subject matter in Russian or Ukrainian languages.

Human rights and stigmaUA Union Blog
TB is very stigmatized issue in Ukraine and all over the world, and although human rights is the main focus of the 2018 Union conference, there were some very useful insights made in the presentations about human rights based approaches to TB and MDR TB. Mr Brian Citro presented the TB Law case compendium, which has become of good reference document here in Ukraine. After returning from the conference, Ilona shared the publication with LHSI partners from the trade unions, which are currently working on evidence-based report about violations of human rights in the field of TB amongst TB doctors. This development of this topic was discussed at the meeting between LHSI and trade union of Medical Workers of Ukraine and Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine soon after the conference in November 2017.

Сontinue reading…


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