We continue to run mobile clinics along the frontline, and increased psychological and medical support to people living in the areas controlled by the Ukrainian government, including those who had been displaced.
We also ensure continuity of care for people suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, as the conflict has interrupted their access to drugs and medical services.
Our teams are currently responding to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine.
Curing hepatitis C in Ukraine with effective drugs and patient support
At least five per cent of the population - or two million people - in Ukraine are infected with hepatitis C, according to estimates from World Health Organization.
If left untreated, hepatitis C can lead to liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death. Fortunately, hepatitis C is preventable and curable.
Until recently, treatment for hepatitis C was painfully long and costly and came with toxic side effects. But newer direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) have revolutionised hepatitis C care, making treatment faster and more effective while significantly reducing side effects. Drug prices however remain prodigiously high and poor access to diagnosis severely limits scaling up the treatment.
In 2017, MSF opened a project in southern Ukraine that offers innovative hepatitis C treatment using advanced drugs that can cure hepatitis C in as little as 12 weeks.
Our activities in Ukraine in 2020
Data and information from the International Activity Report 2020.
MSF is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to improve basic healthcare in Donetsk region’s remote, conflict-affected communities. Our teams have switched from running mobile clinics to working in general healthcare facilities, providing technical and practical assistance to staff. We are also strengthening community healthcare through the involvement of local volunteers.
In Luhansk region, we started supporting the regional HIV programme to improve diagnosis and treatment for patients with advanced HIV disease, focusing on putting patients at the centre of care provided in health facilities and in the community.
In Mykolaiv, we treated hepatitis C patients living with HIV, using a new direct-acting antiviral regimen. We handed this project over to the Mykolaiv Regional Centre of Palliative Care and Integrated Services in May.
In partnership with the regional TB dispensary in Zhytomyr, MSF is running an innovative treatment regimen for patients with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). The treatment plan is shorter, lasting between nine and 12 months, and uses highly effective oral drugs that cause fewer side effects than the older injectable ones. The operational research study that started in 2019 is examining the effectiveness of this model of care, which also includes outpatient consultations, psychological counselling and social support.
MSF teams also supported the COVID-19 response in Kyiv, Donetsk and Zhytomyr. Our teams trained health ministry staff in infection prevention and control, and offered psychological support to patients and healthcare workers. In Marinka district, Donetsk region, our mobile teams provided home-based care and transported COVID-19 samples for testing. In Zhytomyr, we ensured TB patients received their medicines and psychosocial support throughout the lockdown.
Following widespread fires in Luhansk in October, our teams donated hygiene kits for distribution in Syrotyne village, near Sievierodonetsk city.