CDC in Ukraine
A group of Ukrainians carry luggage as they cross to and from Ukraine at the Palanca border in Moldova. Photo Courtesy of UNHCR
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established an office in Ukraine in 2010 to strengthen the capacity of the government and partners to prevent, detect, and respond to emerging global public health threats. CDC works with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health (MOH), the Public Health Center of Ukraine (UPHC), and other local and international partners to achieve HIV epidemic control. In addition, CDC supports Ukraine in strengthening laboratory, surveillance, and workforce capacity to combat disease outbreaks. CDC also supports Ukraine’s COVID-19 response.
Global Health Security
In today’s globally connected world, disease threats can spread faster and more unpredictably than ever before. CDC’s global public health security efforts in Ukraine help improve the country’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks before they become epidemics that could affect global populations. These efforts help Ukraine reach the goals outlined in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA).
CDC collaborates with the MOH and other partners to provide ongoing expertise across GHSA action packages. With CDC’s assistance, Ukraine developed detailed action plans on disease surveillance, laboratory systems, workforce development, biosafety and biosecurity, immunization, and other critical areas. Current efforts focus on implementation of these action plans to achieve the goals and competencies specified by GHSA and World Health Organization (WHO). CDC also works with partners to support:
- Establishment of a centralized Emergency Operations Center and rapid response teams
- Enhancement of border health and quarantine processes at key ports of entry
- Data modernization, digitization, and reporting
The first case of COVID-19 in Ukraine was confirmed on March 3, 2020. CDC supports Ukraine with emergency operations planning, strengthened laboratory infrastructure, disease surveillance and mitigation, and vaccine rollout. CDC’s previous collaborations to strengthen laboratory capacity and surveillance systems are instrumental to the COVID-19 response.
CDC supported the Public Health Center of Ukraine to:
- Establish a phone helpline to address questions from the public
- Engage religious leaders to pilot a COVID-19 contact tracing program in places of worship
- Develop and implement a COVID-19 mitigation strategy during the annual Hassidic pilgrimage in Uman, Central Ukraine
Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP)
The establishment of CDC’s FETP in 2018 helps Ukraine strengthen the capacity of its workforce to investigate and respond to disease outbreaks. FETP trains epidemiologists, medical doctors, veterinarians, and other health professionals to identify and contain outbreaks before they become epidemics.
FETP graduates are key leaders in Ukraine’s COVID-19 response
National Public Health Institute
Consolidation and organization of public health expertise and systems within a National Public Health Institute allows countries to perform essential public health functions and increase accountability and efficiency. CDC assisted Ukraine’s MOH to strengthen the country’s Public Health Center (UPHC), which serves as an organizational home for Global Health Security programs and activities. The UPHC is responsible for ensuring the most effective allocation of limited public health resources to yield the maximum public health impact.
CDC supports the UPHC on:
- Disease surveillance
- Emergency operations and management
- Rapid response
- Border health at ports of entry
- Laboratory systems strengthening
Laboratory Systems Strengthening
National laboratory systems and workforces are crucial to countries’ capacity to detect, prevent, and respond to public health emergencies. CDC works with Ukraine’s MOH and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) to implement the Global Laboratory Leadership Program (GLLP). The GLLP models a One Health approach that recognizes the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. GLLP strengthens laboratory leaders’ management skills and promotes sustainable and effective laboratory systems.
CDC also helps train laboratory staff in biosafety and security. Biosafety cabinets are critical components of laboratory infrastructure. CDC and APHL collaborate with the UPHC to develop a national plan for biosafety cabinet certification, inspection, and maintenance.
CDC helped launch the GLLP in 2021
HIV is a leading cause of death and health threat to millions worldwide. CDC is a key implementer of PEPFAR and works with Ukraine to build a sustainable, high-impact national HIV response program to accelerate progress in controlling the HIV epidemic. CDC works with the MOH to strengthen the National HIV/AIDS Reference Laboratory and their National Laboratory Network.
Additionally, CDC works with the MOH, UPHC, and other partners to:
- Advance data quality and use to inform HIV surveillance and programs
- Accelerate HIV testing
- Interrupt, reduce, and prevent transmission of HIV
- Increase uptake of antiretroviral therapy (ART)
- Maximize viral suppression among people living with HIV (PLHIV)
- Increase retention of patients in treatment
- Strengthen information systems and management of care for PLHIV
Strengthened national laboratory systems to ensure continuity and quality of HIV laboratory service, molecular surveillance, and sequencing capacity
Many people in Ukraine are at increased risk of vaccine-preventable diseases due to years of low immunization coverage during the previous decade. Reported national immunization coverage in 2020 was 81% for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis; 82% for measles, mumps, rubella; and 84% for polio. However, sub-national vaccination coverage in Ukraine varies with rates much lower in some oblasts (regions), including Ivano-Frankivsk, Zakarpattia, Lviv, Zaporizhia, Chernivtsi, Odesa, Kyiv, Kharkiv and Rivne. CDC supports Ukraine’s MOH to strengthen its national immunization program:
- In response to a 2021 polio outbreak, CDC helped the Ukrainian MOH strengthen polio surveillance and develop an outbreak response plan
- CDC supports revisions of immunization policy
- CDC develops strategies to address vaccine hesitancy, vaccine safety surveillance, and risk communication
CDC helped stop a 2019 measles outbreak by supporting investigations and developing recommendations and control measures
- 4 U.S. Assignees
- 12 Locally Employed
- Population: > 44 million
- Per capita income: $13,260
- Life expectancy: F 77 / M 67 years
- Infant mortality rate: 7/1,000 live births
Sources: World Bank 2020, Population Reference Bureau 2021