On 2-4 October 2015, Sitges, Spain, hosted EATG (European AIDS Treatment Group) meetings “Access to HCV Treatment in Europe: All Inclusive?” The meetings gathered representatives of the World Health Organization, Ministries of Health from different European countries, pharmaceutical companies producing innovative drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV), such as BMS, Gilead, Merck, Abbvie, and Janssen, international organizations, medical professionals, researchers, community and NGO representatives.
Key objectives of the meetings included discussing access strategies of pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies, HCV treatment strategies, models of NGO activities in scaling up access to treatment, presenting successful models of HCV service delivery to armor NGO and community representatives with expertise on the existing models of work, provide feedback to pharma on community needs and how it can be achieved.
Ludmila Maistat, Senior Program Manager: Hepatitis/Policy and Advocacy, presented Alliance Ukraine advocacy strategy and rolling up testing and treatment programs in Ukraine as well as Alliance Ukraine treatment programs for key populations and HCV services.
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On 2-4 September, Glasgow hosted the World Hepatitis Summit, which was aimed at supporting countries in the development of their national plans and programs of response to viral hepatitis B and C, creating a common platform to strengthen the role of the civil society in scaling up access to treatment, encouraging the global donors, pharmaceutical giants and other stakeholders to unite in the fight against the epidemic of hepatitis. The Summit was co-organized by WHO and the World Hepatitis Alliance.
Alliance Ukraine was represented by Ludmila Maistat, Senior Program Manager: Hepatitis/HIV Policy and Advocacy. In particular, she presented Alliance activities aimed at prevention and scale up of access to HCV diagnostics and treatment for key populations through the integration of services into harm reduction programs.
Also, meetings were held with key pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies with the purpose of launching or scaling up diagnostics and treatment programs in the countries of operation of Alliance linking organizations, in particular in Ukraine.
The Resolution of the World Summit will be finalized and published in the nearest future.
Materials is available here
On 8-9 September 2015, Alliance Ukraine within the project “Scaling up accessible and effective HCV treatment through community-based treatment model for most vulnerable populations in the resource constrained Ukraine” (hereinafter – the Project) held two events dedicated to the issues of viral hepatitis treatment with participation of national and international experts, members of civil society, doctors, case managers and clients.
8 September 2015 – Meeting of the International Committee of the project “Scaling up accessible and effective HCV treatment through community-based treatment model for most vulnerable populations in the resource constrained Ukraine” (hereinafter – the Project) with participation of the leading international experts from the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the USA and Croatia (hereinafter – International Experts) and national Ukrainian experts in hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment. Goal: presentation of the preliminary results of the Project operation, discussion of its further scale up, namely: new regions, selection criteria, access to HCV diagnostics and treatment, etc. Materials of the meeting
9 September 2015– HCV Forum with participation of the International Experts, members of the Project National Advisory Board, multidisciplinary teams taking part in project implementation, civil society actors, and people who are beneficiaries receiving Project services (who are currently getting innovative HCV treatment with the use of sofosbuvir). The Forum involved presentation of the situation with HCV in the world, modern approaches to treatment, modeling and analysis of the efficiency of HCV prevention and treatment programs, with the discussion of most vital questions. Materials of the Forum
Which way will Ukraine choose in the fight against hepatitis C - expensive and ineffective treatment or cheaper innovation?
On 09.09.2015 the press briefing was held focused on the introduction of modern treatment of hepatitis C (HCV) in Ukraine and interference in the procurement of new medications which make treatment much cheaper and more efficient. Press Release
During September, 2nd -3rd a NIATx meeting was held with representatives of change teams from 12 OST sites and 6 Chief Narcologists. The meeting was held as a part of on-going effort to implement rapid cycle change projects approach for improving processes at OST sites to improve entry and retention indicators. The diversity and quality of emerging strategies for overcoming structural barriers was pointed by international NIATx trainers Lynn Madden, Scott Farnum and principal investigator of the project Frederick L. Altice. The project is implemented in strong collaboration with State Institution “Ukrainian Center for Socially Dangerous Disease Control of the MOH of Ukraine”. You may find more about the NIATx implementation at OST sites following this link
The Ministry of Health of Ukraine is not interested in the efficient use of state funds for the treatment of hepatitis C and scaling up access of most-at-risk populations to such treatment!
More than once, Alliance Ukraine appealed to the Ministry of Health with a request to allow state healthcare institutions to use the available courses of pegylated interferon procured within the State Targeted Social Program of Viral Hepatitis Prevention, Diagnostics and Treatment in combination with direct-acting antiviral agent – sofosbuvir – for the comprehensive treatment of patients with HIV/HCV co-infection. Recent studies demonstrate that the treatment regimen with a combination of sofosbuvir, pegylated interferon and ribavirin reduces the duration of HCV treatment to 12 weeks and significantly increases cure rates. The combination of pegylated interferon with sofosbuvir available within the Alliance pilot program will allow treating almost twice more patients with HIV/HCV co-infection than it was initially planned. Nevertheless, after submitting our request we received a formal “runaround”, saying that the Ministry of Health considers it is not possible to give preference to any particular group of patients, which in fact means failure to effectively use state funds and support the Global Fund programs in Ukraine. Alliance Ukraine made a decision to make its correspondence with the Ministry of Health public to draw public attention to the lack of interest of the Ministry in the efficient use of the resources available and in reduction of the cost of hepatitis C treatment. However, we still hope that this answer is not the final position of the Ministry of Health, but a little misconception of some of its representatives, which can be modified during the open dialogue.
On 27 July 2015, International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation with Odessa Oblast State Administration and Odessa Oblast Council for 2015-2016.
The signed Memorandum is the keystone in long-term partnership building through the joint efforts of the parties to continue the efficient cooperation in combating the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis at the regional level.
The parties confirmed their contributions in 2015-2016 to ensure the sustainability of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis prevention programs, case finding, treatment and care programs for most-at-risk populations and adolescents, as well as re-socialization programs for people who inject drugs in Odessa region. In 2015-2016, nine partner NGOs and six health care institutions operating in the Odessa region will receive charitable aid from Alliance Ukraine equal to 53.85 million hryvnas. Ensuring sustainability of the prevention activities after termination of the donor funding also requires gradual increase of the share of local funding, and eventually full transition to funding prevention programs from the local budgets.
18.08.2015 Mycobacterium tuberculosis which is the causative agent of tuberculosis exists on this planet for millions of years, and during this time it learned well to adjust to the rapidly changing environment. That is why the resistance of Mycobacterium to anti-tuberculosis drugs develops very fast and is the main obstacle to the effective treatment of tuberculosis. In fact, there are not so many drugs which are active against it. Although tuberculosis is a fully curable disease, the results of treatment are often dissatisfactory both for patients and for doctors. Failure to understand the key treatment principles and lack of trust to the doctor often prevent patients from curing their disease. Only correctly selected treatment and observance of all doctor’s recommendations may prevent the development of resistance. Today, directly observed long-term uninterrupted treatment is the only possible way to overcome tuberculosis. There are many persistent myths related to the treatment of tuberculosis. The purpose of this video to dispel persistent myths related to the treatment of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease transmitted mainly through the air. Spread of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a real threat to human health. Prevention of TB infection transmission by means of infection control must be a priority, especially in the places attended by people living with HIV, injection drug users and other persons from the risk groups. Infection control is an easy-to-understand, accessible for use and very efficient method of TB contagion prevention.
The video has been made with support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria within the framework of the program “Investments to influence TB and HIV epidemic”.
28 July, the World Hepatitis Day became the day of initiation of the first large-scale campaign for the viral hepatitis C testing among military servants and members of other defense and security agencies who take part in the anti-terrorist operation. Its initiation was announced at a special briefing held in the Central Military Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Defense in Kyiv by its organizers: International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
Why is it urgent? In fact, Ukraine lives in the state of military conflict with the involvement of hundreds of military servants, civilians and healthcare workers. The risk of rapid aggravation of the viral hepatitis epidemic in Ukraine rises significantly due to the big numbers of wounded people, deterioration of sanitary, social and economic conditions of life of many Ukrainians in the East of the country. No HCV screening is stipulated for the mobilized military servants. Apart from that, in the combat areas there are almost no means to prevent viral infections.
Video appeal of Oleksiy Dmytrushkivsky, former speaker of ATO
23.07.2015 Announcement: Press briefing to the World Day to Combat Hepatitis will be held under the slogan "Unite to Eliminate HepC: Know It, Test It, Treat It”
28 July 2015, 11:00: the Club of the Central Military and Medical Clinic Center “Main Military Hospital” (18 Hospitalna St.) will be hosting a press briefing on the occasion of initiation of the first large-scale Hepatitis C testing campaign among military servants coming back from the ATO zone. The press briefing will be held within the campaign “Unite to Eliminate HepC: Know It, Test It, Treat It” devoted to the World Hepatitis Day. There will be a chance to hear the answers to most vital questions related to the possibility of Hepatitis C epidemic aggravation as a result of military operations as well as the opportunities of Hepatitis C treatment in Ukraine from authorized officials of the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Health of Ukraine, first patients who already started HCV treatment with the most innovative medicines, doctors and representatives of non-government and international organizations.
16.07.2015 Alliance-Ukraine with use of novel method of data visualization have prepared on-line map of all OST (SMT) sites in Ukraine with brief contact and epidemiological information. We hope that this instrument will be useful for our partners and will help current or future OST patients. You may find out more about the map in the “Regional information” section or following the link. All recommendations and comments you may send to Tatiana Fomenko.
A meeting of the National Supervisory Committee was held in the office of International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine (Alliance Ukraine) on 8 July 2015 within the project Scaling up accessible and effective HCV treatment through community-based treatment model for most vulnerable populations in the resource constrained Ukraine. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, Ukrainian Center for Socially Dangerous Disease Control, Gromashevsky Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases at the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the US Department of Health and Human Services in Ukraine and Russia, WHO Office in Ukraine, AUCO “All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH”, Oblast AIDS Centers , Vinnytsia National University as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations which demonstrate an active position supporting Hepatitis C treatment programs.
At the meeting, participants welcomed the delivery of the innovative direct-acting antiviral agent for hepatitis C treatment to Ukraine and commencement of treatment for the first patients. The treatment already commenced for the first patients in the clinic of Gromashevsky Institute and in Vinnytsia AIDS Center. All other regions are ready to start treatment in the nearest future.
The new Guide on implementation of viral hepatitis C treatment programs using Sofosbuvir for key populations in Ukraine was presented to the meeting participants. Besides, the participants jointly agreed on criteria for the selection of the regions of Ukraine to participate in project scale up and possible hepatitis C treatment regimens using other direct-acting antiviral agents for the following stages of the project as well as further steps for the effective implementation of the pilot project.
The main aim of the project is scaling up access to viral hepatitis C treatment using innovative medical drugs for members of the key populations, including people who inject drugs, through the development of a community-based hepatitis C treatment model. The results of the project will be used to further expand access to HCV treatment for most vulnerable groups and further to the general population of Ukraine.
01.07.2015Alliance-Ukraine together with partners started implementation of the innovative evidence-based form of medication assisted treatment for opioid dependence – extended-release naltrexone – Vivitrol®. The drug is a full opioid receptor antagonist that blocks the receptors and prevents getting pleasure from opioid use. Vivitrol is injected intramuscularly once a month, and its effect lasts for about 30 days after injection. Follow-up time in the project is 12 months. The goals of the project include examination of the administrative processes associated with the introduction of this type of treatment. Additionally, within the observational feasibility study we plan to analyze whether Vivitrol reduces the risk of HIV infection among HIV-negative and improves health outcomes among all opioid-dependent participants. You may find more information at the project’s page
Within the framework of cooperation between Ukrainian Center for Socially Dangerous Disease Control (UCSDDC), State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine (SPS), Alliance Ukraine, American Society for Microbiology (ASM), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on implementation and validation of PIMA ™ CD4 testing program in Ukraine, the international consultants Galina Mukhina (ASM) and Mark Pettigrove (ASM) during 2-11 of June 2015 conducted site visits to five Centers for HIV/AIDS Prevention of Odessa, Nikolayev, Kirovohrad, Cherkassy regions, Kryvyi Rih mental hospital, and healthcare facilities of Kherson Regional correctional facility (¹ 61) and Kyiv Detention Center .
The purpose of ASM/Alliance follow-up visits was to evaluate participants’ skills in the use and management of the PIMA™ CD4 testing program.
On June 12, 2015 in the office of the UCSDDC stakeholders meeting on the PIMA™ CD4 testing program implementation was carried out. The meeting was facilitated by the Director of UCSDDC N. Nizovoa and ASM consultants G. Mukhina and M. Pettigrove with participation of Head of the Reference diagnosis and monitoring of HIV/AIDS Laboratory I. Andrianova, the Laboratory Diagnosis Advisor of USCDC in Ukraine M. Azarskova, Representative of the SPS of Ukraine T. Gaborets, Director of Treatment, Procurement and Supply Management of the Alliance S. Filippovych, Treatment Program Manager of the Alliance T. Barnard, ASM/Alliance Data Coordinator A. Shost. As a result of the meeting:
- The parties agreed to direct efforts on the implementation of portable Alere PIMA ™ analyzers use in mobile clinics settings to ensure maximum access of vulnerable groups to the service of rapid CD4 cells count test and further early access to ART;
- It was agreed that development of a standard operation procedure (SOP) for the Alere PIMA ™ CD4 test for HIV/AIDS centers/VCT sites/mobile clinics is a key performance indicator of the program management;
- It was recognized that more workshops on program management and validation for administrators, physicians, nurses, and laboratory technicians should be organized with participation of international experts in UCSDDC regional training centers.
19.06.2015 Alliance Ukraine continues its activities to scale up the access to HCV diagnosis and treatment in Ukraine.
As a part of those activities, a meeting was held with representatives of Abbott pharmaceutical company, Gromashevsky Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases of the National Academy of Medical Sciences and Kyiv City Clinical Hospital No. 5 to discuss cutting-edge methods and principles of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) testing.
The participants received information about the history of HCV treatment courses starting from 1989 up to now; principles of action of various drugs and modern treatment schemes; the importance of various diagnostic assays and their impact on selection of the effective therapy. Presentation covered the most innovative methods of HCV diagnosis, results of the studies to compare sensitivity of different tests to detect viral load and their impact on the selection of therapy as well as choices to change or terminate the treatment of patients with HCV. An important achievement of cutting-edge assays is the possibility to find cases of recombinant virus 2k/1b, which is called St. Petersburg variant of hepatitis C virus.
Besides, a number of meetings are currently held and will be further held with the representatives of other producers offering diagnostic assays and the most innovative treatments of HCV to expand screening, diagnosis and treatment programs implemented by Alliance Ukraine and scale up access of the general population to the cutting-edge diagnosis and treatment techniques within the national and oblast hepatitis programs.
Preliminary achievements of the campaign "Demand treatment!" are available
by the link.
The Cutting Edge Drug to Treat Patients with Hepatitis C is Finally in Ukraine
Information on the Project “Scaling up accessible and effective HCV treatment through community-based treatment model for most vulnerable populations in the resource constrained Ukraine” Alliance Ukraine to launch a new hepatitis C treatment pilot programme. Ñ
11.06.2015 Alliance Ukraine presents the first documentary on the catastrophic situation of the opioid substitution therapy (OST) patients in the occupied areas of Donbas. The film presents unique interviews with the real OST patients from Donetsk, Luhansk and Stakhanov. The OST program in the areas of Luhansk oblast out of control of the Ukrainian Government was closed on 1 June 2015. Over 750 OST patients in the area of combat operations lost their access to treatment. It is already known that some of them committed suicides. 270 OST patients in Donetsk, Horlivka and Makiyivka still receive minimum doses of methadone, the stock of which will soon be exhausted. To get more detailed information, please refer to the regular Alliance report on the situation with HIV/TB/HCV prevention and treatment programs in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
05.06.2015 Training “Treatment of viral hepatitis C using sofosbuvir for risk groups representatives in Ukraine”
On 2 and 3 June 2015, Alliance Ukraine in cooperation with the Ukrainian National Training Center organized the first training “Treatment of viral hepatitis C using sofosbuvir for risk groups representatives in Ukraine” for doctors, healthcare workers and case managers (social workers). The training was attended by 24 participants representing 7 regions of Ukraine. The event rose a lot of interest as it is the first time when sofosbuvir, direct-acting antiviral agent, became available in Ukraine.
The training was held in the premises of the Ukrainian National Training Center with participation of national trainers and an international expert in HCV treatment, who took part in the event using distance learning technologies and gave answers to the questions of participants.
Apart from the questions of patient selection and peculiarities of their treatment, the training also covered the issues of psychological and social support, pharmacovigilance, recording and submitting data on side effects of medicines, etc.
This event was first of a series of trainings scheduled within the project “Scaling up accessible and effective HCV treatment through community-based treatment model for most vulnerable populations in the resource constrained Ukraine”. It will allow starting treatment of viral hepatitis C in patients with HIV/HCV co-infection using sofosbuvir in the nearest future.
01.06.2015 On World Children's Day ICF "International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine" presents the video "Doomed childhood”.
The video was created within the project: «Harm Reduction for children and young people who use drugs in Ukraine: Reaching the Underserved».
Today we would like to draw public attention to the importance of ensuring the sustainability of HIV prevention programs among children and adolescents at risk, especially among those who use psychoactive substances.
We care about the health of Ukrainian children and young people - their physical, psychological and social well-being.
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. c
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”.