Press Release

USAID announces additional $1.8m for WHO to support the continuity of healthcare in Ukraine

03 August 2022

Funds will be used to improve detection of infectious diseases and strengthen surveillance

As Ukraine continues to face the most acute humanitarian crisis in the WHO European Region in decades, the Ukrainian Ministry of Health (MoH) is striving to meet basic health service delivery, surveillance, and pharmaceutical needs.

The health system, already overwhelmed by two years of COVID-19 prior to the war, needs direct support to maintain essential, lifesaving functions and services.

August the 2d, USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman met with Dr. Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Europe. They discussed the United States’ and the WHO’s coordinated response to support Ukraine and the country’s health system recovery and announced that USAID is providing an additional $1.8 million in funding to WHO to strengthen infectious disease surveillance and reporting in Ukraine, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable, including people with special needs, those living in remote areas and internally displaced people (IDP). With this additional support, USAID has now provided $15.5 million to WHO, for critical health support, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February. 

“For almost six months now, Ukraine’s health system has been facing numerous and serious challenges due to the ongoing conflict. We are beginning to see a rise in COVID-19 cases, with a corresponding rise in hospitalizations and deaths, driven by the BA.5 sub-lineage of Omicron which has quickly spread through Europe since early June,” said Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. 

“On top of that, the war has affected routine immunization activities for highly infectious and potentially life-threatening diseases like measles, polio and diphtheria. A cholera outbreak remains a real and serious risk. And the rapid and unexpected spread of monkeypox in the European Region could further challenge the Ukrainian health system, when the virus reaches Ukraine. The only way to get a handle on these health threats is to have robust and agile surveillance systems that are able to function amid the current conflict and well beyond," continued Dr Kluge.

Working closely with the Ukrainian MoH, the overarching objectives will be to:

  1. Improve laboratory diagnostic capacities to detect and report communicable diseases in a timely way.
  2. Enhance existing surveillance systems through event-based surveillance (EBS) in selected priority regions with a high number of IDPs.
  3. Strengthen health information systems, ensuring regular data flow and better monitoring of service availability.

“On behalf of WHO, I thank USAID for this generous and timely donation to help protect the health and well-being of the Ukrainian people. Health must be a central pillar of the humanitarian response, but also a key component of Ukraine’s recovery. Investing in health now will pay dividends later, when peace finally comes,” Dr Kluge concluded.

ENDS

WHO contacts:

Bhanu Bhatnagar, Press & Media Relations Officer, bbhatnagar@who.int

Alona Roshchenko, Media Consultant, WHO in Ukraine, roshchenkoa@who.int

WHO/Europe Press Office, eupress@who.int

USAID announces additional $1.8m for WHO to support the continuity of healthcare in Ukraine

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