Ukraine/ART: Developing an affordable and viable ART programme

MSF includes training for medical staff to emphasize psychological care.

MSF works in three regions in the south of Ukraine - Odessa, Mikolayev and Simferopol. There are four main components to the projects - prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT), continuum of care for people living with HIV/AIDS, support to laboratory services, and psychosocial care.

The PMTCT programme is well established in the three regions, and in Simferopol, the programme is ready to be handed over to the Ministry of Health. MSF currently offers PMTCT to 450 mother and child pairs and aims to cover 600 by mid-2003.

MSF also offers treatment and prevention of opportunistic infections and, since July 2002, has been treating 18 children with antiretroviral drugs. MSF has also renovated the laboratory at the AIDS outpatient centre and donated a FACS machine for CD4 counts. MSF employs peer counsellors to assist people from diagnosis onwards, and offers training to doctors and nurses to ensure they are aware of the importance of psychosocial care.

MSF hopes to offer adults antiretrovirals in the near future as part of the continuum of care - with the aim of presenting a model of economically possible and sustainable treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. Using generics - which are in the process of being registered in Ukraine - as well as some brand name drugs, it should be possible to treat people for US$300 to 600 a year. Initially, treatment will be offered to the mothers and their partners, and to patients in the inpatient centre in Odessa.