Ukraine hosts study tour for Pakistani HIV specialists


Ukraine recently hosted a study tour for Pakistani HIV specialists in Kyiv. The tour was requested by the Ministry of Health of Pakistan and was organized by WHO and its national partner in Ukraine, the Alliance for Public Health.

The participants included representatives of the Pakistan Ministry of Health, the WHO Country Office in Pakistan and civil society. During the tour the visitors learned about Ukrainian HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment services for people most at risk of HIV, including people who inject drugs. As well as HIV and narcology hospitals they also visited the Ministry of Health Centre for Public Health, HIV services supported by the Alliance for Public Health, the Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV and other nongovernmental organizations. Ukrainian experts shared their experience with the Pakistani specialists.

Dr Marthe Everard, WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Ukraine, acknowledged that WHO supported the tour to share Ukrainian achievements with another county struggling with a similar HIV epidemic: “WHO congratulates Ukraine for its efforts in responding to one of the largest HIV epidemics in the European Region. We recognize the critical role of civil society organizations in reaching those key populations most at risk of and affected by HIV. We are delighted to facilitate and support the sharing of the Ukrainian experience in delivering evidence-based HIV prevention, testing and treatment services with countries in other regions, such as Pakistan”.

A focus of the study tour was the shared challenge of increasing access to HIV treatment for key populations most at risk of HIV. Ukrainian civil society organizations, under the leadership of the Alliance for Public Health, have developed an approach based on case management focusing on an individual client’s treatment path. The Alliance shared this learning with the Pakistani visitors.

While in Kyiv, Dr Safdar Kamal Pasha of the WHO Country Office in Pakistan commented, “Current HIV treatment coverage in Pakistan is 7% and we are struggling to increase it. It is really exciting what Ukrainian has done to link people with HIV to care. We very much appreciate this exchange with colleagues and will adapt this experience in Pakistan. We are looking forward to continued collaboration”.