New support for maintaining essential HIV and TB services brings total to US$25.32 million
21 February 2023
GENEVA – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has approved an additional US$10.32 million in emergency funding to maintain essential HIV and tuberculosis (TB) services in Ukraine as this week marks one year since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The latest investment will go to HIV and TB treatment, prevention and care, including to internally displaced persons and hard-to-reach communities. This brings emergency funding over the last year to a total of US$25.32 million.
The emergency funding comes on top of the US$119.48 million allocated to Ukraine to support the fight against HIV and TB in the country over the 2021-2023 period, and on top of the US$50.93 million granted for the COVID-19 response since the pandemic broke out.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine in late February 2022, more than 13.5 million people have been internally displaced or forced to flee to neighboring countries as refugees. Even before the conflict, Ukraine had a high HIV and TB disease burden, and drug-resistant TB remains a public health threat. Both HIV and TB require long-term treatment to reduce the risk of transmission and both diseases have the best outcome with early diagnosis. As people escape the fighting, they often lose access to health care and their medications. HIV and TB prevention and diagnosis services have also been significantly disrupted.
Since the invasion began, the World Health Organization says more than 1,200 health facilities have been attacked, resulting in destruction of 170 facilities, leaving health care workers and patients displaced, injured or dead. The Global Fund’s work with partners in Ukraine and neighboring countries has focused on prevention, testing and treatment for HIV and TB – this has been challenged by the dangerous environment caused by the war.
“It’s been a year since the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, and today, the fighting and deadly missile strikes continue, bringing more destruction and devastating impact in several oblasts of the country,” said Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Liashko. “Despite the crisis and challenges, Ukraine’s HIV and TB programs sustained operations. The Global Fund’s investments through the emergency funding, on top of the ongoing grant, have proven invaluable, especially as health facilities have been damaged or destroyed and people continue to be displaced, causing them to lose access to health care, including treatment for HIV and TB.”
“If displaced people don’t get the medicines they need, there is a high risk that they will actually die because of the lack of therapy,” said Dmytro Sherembei, head of 100% LIFE, a Global Fund-supported nongovernmental organization delivering HIV medications in war-affected Ukraine.
Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Global Fund partners had made significant progress toward ending AIDS and TB in the country. Over the last 20 years, Ukraine has been a champion in maintaining long-term and innovative HIV and TB programs. More than 100 community-based and community-led organizations have been delivering HIV and TB services to vulnerable people. Despite these achievements in combating HIV and TB, Ukraine still has the second largest HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and remains one of the high-priority countries to fight TB in the region today.
“As the war rages on, the needs in the country are getting more severe and urgent,” said Peter Sands, the Global Fund’s Executive Director. “Damage and destruction to water, electricity and sanitation facilities, health facilities, as well as road and residential infrastructure continue to be reported across multiple areas throughout the country. The additional emergency funding that we are unlocking today is intended to support the government in filling the significant financing gaps across critical HIV and TB interventions. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
To date, the Global Fund has invested more than US$885 million in Ukraine for HIV and TB programs since 2003. Investments have also supported the adaptation of health service delivery throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.