The Cutting Edge Drug to Treat Patients with Hepatitis C is Finally in Ukraine
Thanks to the procurement of sofosbuvir – the innovative direct-acting antiviral to treat hepatitis C virus (HCV) – by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, in several days the first patients will start their long-awaited treatment. This procurement was conducted within the new pilot program of HCV treatment for over 1,500 patients, including those with HIV/HCV co-infection, people who use drugs and members of other key populations, funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
28.04.2015 On April, 14, 2015, the Global Fund (TGF), following the open competitive process, communicated the decision to appoint the Regional Technical Support Hub for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, in consortium with Alliance Ukraine Consultancy, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) and the East Europe and Central Asia Union of PLWH (ECUO) to be the hosting mechanism for Regional Civil Society and Community Support, Communication and Coordination Platform (Regional Platform, RP) with a focus on Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) issues in the area of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in the EECA.
This initiative is aimed to support and strengthen civil society and community engagement at all levels of the Global Fund processes and in particular, in the areas of Community, Rights and Gender. TGF envisaged 6 platforms to be established in the regions.
The unique EECA Consortium will be strengthened, supported and function in collaboration with the main Technical Partners: Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD), Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN), Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM) and TB Europe Coalition.
the priority focus of the Regional Platform is to increase the communities’ knowledge and understanding on TGF related programs and Technical Support in general, to be able to serve as the expertise source in TGF programs on HIV, TB and Malaria more broadly. Besides the RP will work on developing a strong communication and cooperation among all players included in the processes: from KAP representatives to TS providers, governmental bodies, civil society organisations and donors.
The project will be implemented during 24.5 month period.
The major outcomes of the initiative are anticipated to be the following:
1) Creation of the demand for the CRG technical support in EECA region and specifically for expertise from communities and civil society organizations. Developing further the culture of requesting technical support from the insider experts in the areas – trained representatives of key populations groups.
2) Technical Support coordination among TS providers in the region. A unique web-based resource will be developed that will become a low threshold mechanism to shape technical support needs and help link the requestors and providers of technical support. The RP will develop and maintain a web-based multifunctional resource, which will include the most comprehensive set of information/tools/references available. The resource will be available for general access and use, will have a flexible subscription system, online and call-back distant support opportunities, regional activities calendar, country profiles, etc. It will function as a general online platform for gathering all key players against AIDS, TB and Malaria in the EECA region.
3) Capacity building and support for civil society and communities representatives to be able to serve as experts in the development and evaluation of programs to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Developing the pool of KAP experts who can provide support on AIDS and Tuberculosis programs.
The platform will become a united exchange mechanism on technical support in the region and will sustain after the resources of TGF are available – used by regional TS providers, civil society, governments – to coordinate, request and provide regional technical support on HIV, and TB.
For details please contact:
Tetiana Deshko,, International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine.
22.04.2015 Report “Hepatitis C in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Epidemic and Response”
Following the research carried out by the team of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine, Alliance Practice Center on Drug Use and Hepatitis, ITPCru and Access with invaluable support of the colleagues from the EECA region, a report was prepared called “Hepatitis C in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: Epidemic and Response”.
This document summarizes the data on situation with Hepatitis C in 10 countries of the region: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Besides, it contains some information on the Baltic states and Russia. The document contains epidemiological data on hepatitis C virus (HCV); accessibility of various drugs for HCV treatment, including registration and pricing policy issues in different countries; availability of manuals for HCV treatment in the EECA countries. The report also allows getting acquainted with the national and donor programs of hepatitis C treatment in the EECA region and contribution of NGOs in counteracting the HCV epidemic.
02.04.2015 On March 31, the working meeting of regional/oblast coordinators took place in Alliance-Ukraine for hepatitis C issues within the framework of all-Ukrainian “We demand treatment!” campaign. The participants of the meeting reviewed and analyzed the situation of the implementation of state and regional programs of viral hepatitis, discussed the developments and achievements of coordinators in the regions, received the latest information on new drugs of direct action for the hepatitis C treatment and on scaling up treatment of Hepatitis C by Alliance Ukraine. The meeting participants identified next steps within the campaign framework.
31.03.2015 Eastern partnership Ministerial Conference on Tuberculosis and Its Multi-Drug Resistance’ conducted on March 30-31 in Riga resulted in endorsing the ‘Riga Declaration on Tuberculosis and its Multi-Drug Resistance’. Ukrainian official delegation was headed by Igor Perehinets, Deputy Minister of Health. Civil society voice was well received: on behalf of TB Europe Coalition Andriy Klepikov, Alliance Ukraine and Anahit Harutyunuan jointly presented civil society statement at the conference.
18.03.2015 Human Rights and Democracy Report 2014
On March 12, UK published the Human Rights and Democracy Report 2014, that presents the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s analysis of human rights around the world and its work to make a difference to peoples’ lives, helping to build the capacity of governments and civil society to promote and protect human rights.
According to the report, one of the most striking trends of 2014 was the pressure put by governments on civil society organizations in many parts of the world, damaging human rights and the economic interests of those same countries.
Key topics, covered in the document include:
• The protection of civil society space and support of human rights defenders;
• Sexual Violence prevention;
• Project work on human rights with case studies;
• Freedom of expression on the internet, abolition of the death penalty, torture prevention, freedom of religion or belief, women’s rights;
• Freedom of expression and democracy;
• Business and human rights;
• Working through a rules-based international system;
• Implementation of child safeguarding initiatives;
• The human rights situation in 27 countries where the UK has wide-ranging concerns.
In the report you can find a lot of case studies, including the one on the international response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and separatist-occupied areas of Ukraine, described in chapter X. What’s worth to mention, is that due to Crimea annexation, the opioid substitution treatment programme in the peninsula was shut down and 800 OST patients were abandoned, dozens of them died, some were forced to displace. The situation with the OST in the warfare area of Ukraine is also critical. Due to security and regulatory restrictions implemented by Ukrainian Government in ATO zone in December 2014, it is still impossible to deliver OST drugs to Donetsk and Luhansk. In the last several months, over 600 patients from these Oblasts have been forced to terminate the treatment due to lack of the drugs.
16.03.2015 WHO issues its first hepatitis B treatment guidelines
WHO issued its first-ever guidance for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B, a viral infection which is resulting in an estimated 650 000 deaths each.
The "WHO guidelines for the prevention, care and treatment of persons living with chronic hepatitis B infection" covers the full spectrum of care from determining who needs treatment, to what medicines to use, and how to monitor people long-term.
Key recommendations include: the use of a few simple non-invasive tests to assess the stage of liver disease to help identify who needs treatment; prioritizing treatment for those with cirrhosis - the most advanced stage of liver disease; the use of two safe and highly effective medicines, tenofovir or entecavir, for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B; and regular monitoring using simple tests for early detection of liver cancer, to assess whether treatment is working, and if treatment can be stopped.
The new guidelines on treating hepatitis B follow on from the publication last year by WHO of its first ever guidelines on treating hepatitis C. More information on the
12.03.2015 Andrey Klepikov, International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine Executive Director, participates in åðó 58 regular session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) as the member of the official delegation of Ukraine. The meeting, which began on March 9, united about 1,000 delegates representing Member States, civil society organizations and media for global debate on the issue of drug trafficking in the world. This year the Commission will also discuss preparations for the UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drugs, to be held in 2016. More information on this meeting can be found on the official blog of the event.
12.03.2015 The second meeting of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee on Viral Hepatitis
On Feb 19-20 in Geneva the second meeting of the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee on Viral Hepatitis (WHO STAC-HEP) took place. One of the Committee members is Ludmila Maistat, Senior Program Manager: Hepatitis/HIC Policy and Advocacy ICF “International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine”
The goal of the STAC-HEP is to provide the WHO Director-General with independent strategic and technical advice on WHO’s program of work to scale up and maximize the impact of viral hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.
During the second STAC-HEP meeting were discussed:
• The review of the progress made in implementing the recommendations of the first STAC-HEP held in March 2014;
• Discussion of the proposed development and content of the Global Heath Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis 2016-2021;
• The review of the current and proposed activities and timelines in the broader work plan of the Global Hepatitis Programme.
• The development of key WHO normative guidelines to support national responses to viral hepatitis epidemics.
It’s worthwhile mentioning that WHO is working now on the HCV best practice report which will include the best practices and models for HCV testing and treatment including advocacy cases. The Ukrainian /Alliance Ukraine case (moving from HCV awareness raising, community mobilization and advocacy to treatment) was presented as one of the best practices during the STAC meeting and has been included in the report which is planned to be published by July 2015.
05.03.2015 The article "Has Putin Condemned Crimean Junkies to Death?» appeared in the Newsweek. The author of it is Igor Kuzmenko, ST patient and author of advocacy films created with the support of the Alliance. Article is devoted to the anniversary of the annexation of the Crimea and the subsequent crisis of the ST. The article notes that the problem continues to worsen, involving not only the addicts, but also their families and close ones.
05.03.2015 Article a in The Foreign Policy is dedicated to the problems of drug-addicts in the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions not controlled by Ukraine. Part of it is dedicated to the Alliance-Ukraine efforts which led to a significant decline in HIV prevalence among injecting drug users, and also article describes the activities of the organization to preserve the continuity of treatment for patients SMT. It is stated that the militants’ harsh penalties, coupled with unfamiliar drugs on the streets and dwindling access to harm-reduction programs, may set up east Ukraine for a devastating return to the 1990s, when high-risk drug use and HIV and other infections claimed many lives.
11.02.2015 SMT patients - IDPs received additional Support and hope!
Alliance-Ukraine was able to extend the implementation of its Humanitarian Service Project for internally displaced persons - SMT patients from Eastern Ukraine. In January funding from Renaissance Foundation and the AIDS Foundation of Elton John ended, thanks to which more than 200 patients from Crimea and Eastern Ukraine were able to move to safer regions of Ukraine, to continue their treatment and adapt to life in a new place.
It is very important that as a result of extensive negotiations, which lasted from July 2014, thanks to funding from the Pompidou Group, Council of Europe funded through Norway, we managed not to interrupt the project. New authoritative donor will help patients by providing the opportunity to continue support to 75 patients for the period until mid-March 2015. We are grateful for the timely vital decision of Pompidou Group.
As by 02/11/2015 Humanitarian Service Project is providing assistance to 93 patients in 7 cities of Ukraine, including 8 from Crimea, 33 - from Donetsk and 52 - from Luhansk.
The new funding will allow SMT patients to receive assistance with temporary accommodation as well integrated services - medical, social, legal. Alliance-Ukraine is looking to further funding of its humanitarian project. In the end of January 2015 we submitted a request to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on the possibility of funding support for 200 patients due to redistribution of this grant.
We hope that this issue will be resolved positively by the Global Fund visit to Ukraine, which is due to start on February 19.
10.02.2015 Publication “Activist Strategies for Increasing Access to HCV Treatment in Low- and Middle-Income Countries” By the link below please find the publication “Activist Strategies for Increasing Access to HCV Treatment in Low- and Middle-Income Countries” prepared by Karyn Kaplan, Treatment Action Group (TAG) Director, International Hepatitis/HIV Policy & Advocacy with contributions from other organizations working on HepC, including Alliance Ukraine.
In the report, you can find a number of key strategies described in three main sections: Laying the Groundwork through Community Organizing, Overcoming the Cost Barriers to HCV Treatment Access, Collaborating with Researchers to Build Your Case for HCV Treatment Access. Through real-world case studies, the report demonstrates how strategies used to combat the AIDS epidemic can be—and have been—adapted to increase HCV treatment access. Information on the Ukrainian case has been also included.
09.02.2015 The regular session of the IWG on developing the draft Strategy for ensuring access of the vulnerable groups representatives to HIV prevention services.
On February 6, 2015 the regular session of the Intersectoral Working Group (IWG) on developing the draft Strategy for ensuring access of the vulnerable groups representatives to HIV prevention services, the personal composition of which was approved by Order of the State Service of Ukraine on Socially Dangerous Diseases on May 05, 2014 ¹ 29.
During the meeting the participants discussed:
• Prospects for future activities in the context of liquidation of the State Service of Ukraine on Socially Dangerous Diseases and transfer of its functions to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (according to the Resolution of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine number 442 from November 09, 2014 "On optimization of central executive bodies");
• The need for revision and amendments to the draft Strategy for ensuring access of the vulnerable groups representatives to HIV prevention services (according to the previously adopted decisions of the IWG, on the content and status of this document, following a public discussion that took place on the website of the State Service of Ukraine on Socially Dangerous Diseases starting from December 12, 2014 and in connection with the Order of the State Service of Ukraine on Socially Dangerous Diseases on January 22, 2015 ¹ 6);
• The need to provide technical assistance to ensure the sustainability of the CBA with further development, coordination and implementation of practical strategies.
Meetings held in conference hall of Alliance Ukraine and was attended by 26 representatives of the public and civil sector, among them the officials of the Ministry of Social Policy, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Department of Combating Illegal Drug Trafficking of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense (Central Sanitary and Epidemiologic Department), Ministry of Culture ,Ministry of Economic Development, the State Service of Ukraine on Socially Dangerous Diseases, Institute of Economics and Forecasting of the NASU, all-Ukrainian civil society and international organizations.
02.02.2015 On January 30 at Shevchenkivsky Department of Kiev City Patrol Police the specialized seminar on the basics of Harm Reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention was conducted. The moderators were Pavlo Scala, Director of Policy and Partnership of Alliance-Ukraine, LEAHN coordinator (Law Enforcement and HIV Network / Network "Police and HIV") in Ukraine and Yulia Dorokhova, lawyer of CF "Vertical".
The workshop was attended by 30 people. It was made possible thanks to the financial support of Levi Strauss Foundation. Workshop participants were able to learn the basic principles of harm reduction strategy, the declaration of its support, and were informed about the possibility to become members of LEARN. Great interest from the side of participants was also to specialized literature they were able to get - UNODC publications «Preventing of infection of socially dangerous diseases in the line of duty by the police" and other prevention materials issued by the Alliance-Ukraine.
In the future, these seminars will be held in other departments of Kyiv and the cities of Ukraine.
30.01.2015 News Highlights: Problems with ARV Treatment and Substitution Therapy in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Brief review of publications in the world press on the problems of access to treatment for HIV-positive people and patients with Substitution Therapy in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
28.01.2015 On January 28 in Ukrainian Crisis Media Center was the press-briefing on the topic “Crisis situation with medical supply for patients who suffer from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and those on opioid replacement therapy who are currently in the ATO zone”.