“You can’t live without breathing,” says Victoria Cherkasova, Head of the Epidemiological Department of the Luhansk Oblast State Sanitary and Epidemiology Service (SES).
While the threat of TB infection is found everywhere in Ukraine – in transport hubs, stores, marketplaces, educational facilities, churches and offices – the largest and most direct threat is concentrated in medical facilities and penitentiary institutions.
Project HOPE - with the financial backing of USAID - is supporting Ukraine’s SES and oblast health authorities to improve TB infection control measures and create a safer environment in Ukrainian health facilities. Today we can say that sustainable changes have been made in approaches to TB infection control throughout the Ukraine.
As a result of Project HOPE support, Ukraine has moved away from a traditional focus on punitive approaches, to providing technical assistance and building the capacity of TB hospitals to manage TB infection control measures. Project HOPE has provided educational opportunities and trainings to 824 health care workers from the SES, TB facilities, AIDS centers and penitentiary medical services on modern approaches to TB infection control.
HOPE also supported the SES in forming a national TB infection control expert group. Through direct mentoring visits, the group promotes the implementation of up-to-date TB infection control measures, lobbies for national and regional policies and provides support to regional SES staff.
“We made a good start in changing our approaches from punitive functions to monitoring implementation of TB infection control. Experts from SES, TB hospitals and AIDS centers review their plans of infection control together and plan real transformation of health facilities in accordance with international standards that are recommended by the WHO,” said Anatoloy Ponomarenko, Head of the State SES, in his speech at the Collegium of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
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