Ukraine Gets New Emergency Funds for HIV and TB Programmes
Alliance Global’s Andrii C shelters in the NGO’s basement in Lviv and waits for air raid sirens to finish. The organisation is helping to get treatment to people living with HIV.

On the eve of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has approved an additional $10.32 million in emergency funding to maintain essential HIV and tuberculosis (TB) services in Ukraine.

The funds are earmarked for HIV and TB treatment, prevention and care, including for internally displaced persons and hard-to-reach communities. 

Since the start of the war, more than 13.5 million people have been internally displaced or forced to flee to neighbouring countries as refugees.

“If displaced people don’t get the medicines they need, there is a high risk that they will actually die because of the lack of therapy,” said Dmytro Sherembei, head of 100% LIFE, a Global Fund-supported nongovernmental organization delivering HIV medications in war-affected Ukraine.

In the past year, the Global Fund has allocated $25.32 million in emergency funds in addition to $119.48 million allocated to Ukraine to support the fight against HIV and TB in the country over the 2021-2023 period. 

Ukraine has the second-largest HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and a high burden of TB, including drug-resistant TB, according to the Global Fund in a statement on Tuesday.

“Both HIV and TB require long-term treatment to reduce the risk of transmission and both diseases have the best outcome with early diagnosis. As people escape the fighting, they often lose access to health care and their medications. HIV and TB prevention and diagnosis services have also been significantly disrupted.”

Needs more desperate

“As the war rages on, the needs in the country are getting more severe and urgent,” said Peter Sands, the Global Fund’s Executive Director. 

“Damage and destruction to water, electricity and sanitation facilities, health facilities, as well as road and residential infrastructure continue to be reported across multiple areas throughout the country. The additional emergency funding that we are unlocking today is intended to support the government in filling the significant financing gaps across critical HIV and TB interventions. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that over 1,200 health facilities in the country have been attacked, and 170 of these facilities have been destroyed, leaving healthcare workers and patients displaced, injured or dead. 

“It’s been a year since the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, and today, the fighting and deadly missile strikes continue, bringing more destruction and devastating impact in several oblasts of the country,” said Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Liashko. 

“Despite the crisis and challenges, Ukraine’s HIV and TB programs sustained operations. The Global Fund’s investments through the emergency funding, on top of the ongoing grant, have proven invaluable, especially as health facilities have been damaged or destroyed and people continue to be displaced, causing them to lose access to health care, including treatment for HIV and TB.”

Over the last 20 years, Ukraine has been a champion in maintaining long-term and innovative HIV and TB programs, according to the Global Fund.

More than 100 community-based and community-led organizations have been delivering HIV and TB services to vulnerable people. 

Image Credits: Global Fund.

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