Press Release

WHO and Canada to expand support in strengthening the delivery of primary health care and essential health services in Ukraine

12 August 2021

WHO and the Government of Canada (Global Affairs Canada) signed a grant agreement in March 2021 in the amount of 30.38 million Canadian dollars to support 10 countries, including Ukraine, in delivering stronger and more resilient primary health care and essential health services during the COVID-19 response and recovery.

The initiative aims to monitor barriers and enhance access to healthcare services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthen national health policies and regulations as well as ensure capacity building of the healthcare workers in clinical management of patients with COVID-19 and in integrated management of hypertension, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. The project focuses on an equity-oriented, gender responsive and human rights-based approach to ensure that all Ukrainian people have access to health service and medicines, and no one is left behind. It is implemented under the leadership of the WHO Special Programme on Primary Health Care through the Universal Health Coverage Partnership network—one of WHO’s largest platforms for international cooperation on universal health coverage and primary health care. This effort aims to respond to the needs and gaps identified by countries and supports the COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, highlighting the urgency of maintaining essential health services and systems.

Ukraine has also received Canada’s additional financial contribution in the amount of 350 thousand Canadian dollars to support the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator Health Systems Connector Implementation in Ukraine. This initiative, launched by WHO and partners in 2020, aims to support the country in identifying and addressing health systems barriers and bottlenecks hindering the effective scale-up and delivery of new and existing COVID-19 tools at the country level. The WHO and Canada collaboration will focus in particular on public health laboratories, field epidemiology investigations and situation monitoring, clinical care and health care workers knowledge, and quality systems for medicines and supply chain.  

“The WHO Country Office in Ukraine welcomes this timely contribution and partnership from Canada. In spite of the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic since last year, Ukraine continues to reform and strengthen its health system, investing in primary health care to move towards universal health coverage (UHC), improve health security and progress on health-related Sustainable Development Goals. We continue to work hand in hand with the Government of Ukraine and health authorities to ensure that more people can access quality health services when they need it, without causing them to experience financial hardship, which is the core vision of UHC,” said Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Ukraine.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to maintain the delivery of essential and primary healthcare services. We are delighted to work closely with WHO in Ukraine to contribute to the transformative reforms in health sector.  The key objective of the new projects is to support Ukraine in strengthening and building a more resilient health system, also promoting gender equality and human rights at all levels,” said Larisa Galadza, Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine.

Bridging global commitments with national priorities

Canada’s contribution also enhances collaboration among the 13 multilateral health, development and humanitarian agencies working together under the frame of the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All (SDG3-GAP) to better support countries in accelerating progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Primary Health Care Accelerator is among the seven accelerator areas under the Global Action Plan and through this, Ukraine is receiving intensified support for primary health care.

A contribution to the Joint Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction also complements this work by undertaking formative research to identify and analyze specific innovations and modifications made by countries to ensure continued access to and delivery of health services.

More about Canada’s funding support to WHO is available in the WHO Programme Budget Portal.

Media contact:
Iryna Tarnavska, Communication Officer, WHO in Ukraine,
Inna Tsarkov, Media Relations Officer, Embassy of Canada

WHO and Canada to expand support in strengthening the delivery of primary health care and essential health services in Ukraine


Iryna Tarnavska

Communications Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative