Since the beginning of the pandemic, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been supporting Ukraine's Ministry of Health in responding to COVID-19 in Kyiv city, Donetsk and Zhytomyr regions. In Kyiv city, MSF trained staff in nursing homes on infection prevention and control (IPC), and provided psychological support for residents of these facilities.
In Mariinka raion, Donetsk region, two MSF mobile teams continue to provide screening and home-based care for people with mild COVID-19 symptoms. The teams also assess hospitalization needs based on the severity of symptoms and conduct follow-up visits for patients who need further medical supervision. To improve hospital care, MSF installed oxygen points and provided technical support to reinforce triage and patient screening, and refresher training on case management and IPC in Krasnohorivka.
In Zhytomyr region, MSF strengthened our outpatient care activities to ensure continuity of DR-TB care. For this, MSF teams ensured access to medicines and psychosocial support for patients with TB during the length of the declared lockdown. MSF conducted training on infection prevention and control (IPC) for healthcare workers to improve infection control in the hospitals, including sessions on managing psychological stress due to the additional risks and workload.
In both Donetsk and Zhytomyr, MSF has provided psychological support through telephone hotlines for patients, relatives, and health care workers.
Access to health care remains limited for people living along the front line of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which started back in 2015, damaging infrastructure, disrupting services, and causing financial distress.
In 2019, MSF continued to deliver health care in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine and support the Ministry of Health’s hepatitis C and tuberculosis (TB) programs.
For five years, MSF mobile teams have provided basic health care and psychosocial support to people living close to the frontline in eastern Ukraine. As public health facilities in the country’s conflict-affected regions gradually resumed services, we began transferring patients to the Ministry of Health for treatment. By the end of the year, they were all receiving care in the public system. Learn how you can best help in Ukraine and other countries.
Treating hepatitis C in southern Ukraine
In Mykolaiv, we support the Ministry of Health in diagnosing and treating people with hepatitis C. Patients are treated with the highly effective direct-acting antiviral drugs daclatasvir and sofosbuvir. In 2019, psychosocial support and health education helped improve adherence to treatment and combat stigma and discrimination. This new model of care has achieved a cure rate of 97.4 percent. Please donate to support our work in Ukraine and other countries around the world now.
Drug-resistant TB (DR-TB)
In 2019, the project we run in Zhytomyr in partnership with the Ministry of Health initiated operational research to demonstrate that an effective model of treatment for DR-TB can be implemented in Ukraine. It involves reliable diagnostics, psychological and social support, and newer, more effective all-oral drugs (bedaquiline and delamanid), which have fewer severe side effects. Patients will spend less time in hospital and their treatment regimens will be shorter, lasting from nine to 12 months.
MSF is also building a state-of-the-art laboratory in the TB dispensary, which will be the first in the region with such an advanced level of biological safety.