Over 24000 people living with HIV are on D record in Odessa Region. Continuous anti-retroviral treatment is the most important point for overcoming the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Ukraine. Introduction of quarantine measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized the ability of patients to receive treatment.
Many people living in remote villages did not have the financial ability to get to a hospital or even receive therapy via post office. That is why the organization “Alternative” from Odessa (Ukraine) applied to AFEW International for a grant for their project “Prevention of ART Interruption in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic” within the framework of COVID-19 Solidarity Program for the Eastern Partnership countries.
Olga Stoyanova, Project’s Coordinator
The target of the project “Prevention of ART Interruption in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic” was to provide people living with HIV in Odessa Region with uninterrupted treatment and by doing so to maintain high commitment to ART therapy. Under the framework of this project, our social workers were mailing packages with treatment to all locations in Odessa Region. Additionally, the addressees received personal protective equipment: a medical mask and a hand sanitizer. Thus, the problem of both high adherence to therapy and prevention of COVID-19 was achieved. In total, project activities reached out to over 2000 people.
After the completion of the project, the need to allocate funds from the regional budget to send out treatment to clients in emergency situations by mail was brought up for consideration at the Intersectional Group (ISG), and then raised at the Coordination Council of local authorities. We hope it will be brought to full implementation.
Thank you for helping us!
The story of one family. Nadezhda (name has been changed). “My granddaughter and I live in a small township in Podolsk area that is 200 km away from the city of Odessa. Before the lockdown, we had to spend a lot of time and money in order to travel there to receive treatment. Since 2020, when the COVID pandemic unrolled, I hardly leave the village – I’ve got no opportunities and no money. My granddaughter has HIV, and I am her only caretaker, as both of her parents died from AIDS. In the hot summer weather, my health would not have allowed me to travel to the city to get medicines for her. I am grateful to the organization “Alternative” and its social worker who took care of us and sent the pills by mail. Thus, my granddaughter did not miss therapy. We also received masks and disinfectants. All this was absolutely free for us! Thank you very much, this project has helped us a lot”!
The COVID-19 Regional Solidarity Program for the Eastern Partnership countries is funded by the European Union and implemented in partnership with People in Need and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee. This project aims to support civil society organizations in response to the immediate and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Eastern Partnership countries.