Five years ago, the Government of Ukraine launched challenging and crucial anti-corruption reforms of the healthcare system, with procurement as one of the most important measures. As an interim solution, the Government called on international organizations in support of building a new procurement system. National and International UN Volunteers Specialists actively assisted in this new healthcare reform.
In 2015 UNDP’s country office in Ukraine established a health procurement project and became the first in Europe and Central Asia to do so. Alongside delivering vital medicines, the project’s key priorities were to provide support to the Government in creating a central procurement agency and establishing a modern health supply system in the country. The Health and Transparency programme, which took the lead in implementing the initiative from the UNDP, was supported by both National and International UN Volunteers. Despite all technical complications of the project, UN Volunteers perfectly suited to the programme’s needs. The five UN Volunteers assisted during the different phases of the programme.
All UNV specialists were involved in different areas of expertise from communications to finances support.
Anton Sydorenko, former UNV Communications Associate
Anton worked to show the human face of the medicines’ delivery. He communicated with various patients, including people living tuberculosis, rare diseases’ patients, health activists, and doctors. The whole idea was quite simple but hard to achieve – to raise the voice of patients and to show the specific results of bringing life-saving medicines. By leading the communication unit, Anton with his colleagues developed a series of materials that shed the light on lives of most vulnerable groups and the key role of UNDP in the capacity development of the health supply systems.
I was thrilled by the chance to show up patients’ stories. Last winter, I was meeting with children, who were undergoing treatment with medicines delivered by the Organisation, heard their mothers’ gratitude, and I knew it shall be covered and visible. A lot of people should have known that the real work of my colleagues was far beyond of delivering medicines. But saving people’s life – Anton Sydorenko, former UNV Communications Associate.
Stories developed and created by Anton, all based on outstanding facts and built with emotional touch and strong visual accompaniment were picked up by various media outlets, starting from local media such as Novoe Vremya to the international media outlets such as the Independent.
Kateryna Denysova, former HIV and Health Programme Associate
Kateryna served as HIV and Health Programme Associate at the same Programme and provided technical and programmatic assistance to the initiatives aimed at advancing health-related targets in the 2030 Agenda with an emphasis on human rights and HIV/AIDS. Even though new HIV infections are decreasing globally, Ukraine continues to experience an increase in the HIV epidemic, having the second-largest HIV epidemic in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
I contributed to the development of the roadmap to improve good governance in the procurement of essential medicines, which was further elaborated and endorsed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in 2018. Besides, it was a great honour for me to support the first in the EECA region Legal Environment Assessment for Tuberculosis in Ukraine. The report indirectly addresses the legal challenges of incorporating HIV and TB response within universal health coverage and galvanizing political will to meet global calls such as 90-90-90 targets and Agenda 2030 – Kateryna Denysova, former HIV and Health Programme Associate.
Bohdana Stelmashchuk, former UNV Finance and Administrative Associate
Bohdana joined the Programme as a Finance and Administrative Associate in 2019. She was eager to gain new professional experience by assisting with finance and administrative support functions to facilitate the implementation of the Programmes’ activities.
Health procurement project is one of the biggest UNDP in Ukraine project in terms of its delivery. So, I felt the full weight of trust granted to me and I just did all the best. As UNV you are bearing the same amount of responsibility as everyone in the team, – Bohdana Stelmashchuk, former UNV Finance and Administrative Associate.
UNDP supported by UNV has reshaped the medicines public procurement market in the Ukraine. The Health and Transparency programme succeeded and continues to monitor the health needs of the population and deliver medicine to those in need. The Programme managed not only to improve procurement procedures but also made it more transparent. UN Volunteers involvement made the accessibility of medicines easier and let some medical products enter Ukrainian market for the first time.
I think all of us were at the right place with the right skills and fresh ideas. Different backgrounds brought us together and we didn’t let it down – Anton Sydorenko, former UNV Communications Associate.
In almost four years, UNDP Ukraine has saved more than UAH 1.7 billion (US $66 million) of state budget funds, and thus enabled the provision of additional medicines and medical products to cover the needs of patients.