Germany supports WHO to provide lifesaving and essential health services in Ukraine

WHO/W. Boelt

Dr Peter Salama, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, meets with Ambassador Ulrich Seidenberger, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany in Geneva, to discuss the situation in Ukraine and accept funds from Germany to support WHO's work to provide lifesaving and essential health services in Ukraine.

Kseniya, 44, from the non-government controlled area of Luhansk, has diabetes. “I need to monitor blood glucose levels all the time, follow a diet and receive daily insulin injections. I should take medications, but do not have money to afford them,” she said. “My salary barely covers food and utility payments.”

Now Kseniya can get insulin from the local clinics for free, thanks to the recently delivered humanitarian supplies. A few months ago, however, this was not possible due to a lack of medications and screening tests in the non-government controlled areas in eastern Ukraine. For the next few months she can rest assured that lifesaving medicines are available.

The protracted humanitarian crisis in Ukraine remains active along the contact line, in the non-government controlled areas and elsewhere in eastern Ukraine. With winter coming and no political solution in sight, some 2.3 million people are in urgent need of emergency health services.

Since the conflict began in 2014, WHO has been leading, coordinating and supporting partners to reach those who are most vulnerable, particularly internally displaced people and those living along the contact line and in non-government controlled areas in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Their access to adequate health care is scarce and, in many cases, dependent on humanitarian support.

The mobile emergency primary health care units established by WHO have provided about 200 000 patient consultations since 2015. However, in 2016, low funding resulted in major delays, interruptions and even discontinuation of critical activities provided by WHO and its partners, such as the mobile units, that supply services in hard-to-reach areas.

“The biggest humanitarian needs in Ukraine are access to essential and lifesaving services and medicines, including care for trauma and injuries, noncommunicable diseases, disease surveillance and proper control for communicable diseases,” said Dr Marthe Everard, WHO Representative to Ukraine. “We rely on partnerships with key donors to help us to provide the needed services and support.”

Germany steps up help for Ukraine

The Federal Foreign Office of Germany donated €2.5 million to WHO to deliver emergency health services to crisis-affected people in Ukraine.

“This is an important contribution from Germany to the people of Ukraine,” said Ambassador Ulrich Seidenberger, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany in Geneva. “We are partnering with WHO because we wanted to ensure that we can help the most vulnerable people in eastern Ukraine.”

The funds will be used to fill critical gaps in essential and lifesaving medical supplies for the conflict-affected, and to ensure provision of enhanced access to essential quality health care services.

Germany also continues to support humanitarian aid efforts run by the United Nations and several nongovernmental organizations to supply food and winter clothing to those in need in eastern Ukraine. Since the start of the conflict, it has made available a total of more than €50 million for this purpose.  

“WHO very much welcomes the continuing support of Germany to help the people of Ukraine,” Dr Everard said. “These funds will allow us to move forward in working with partners to deliver essential health care to the people in eastern Ukraine who need it the most.”