President Bill Clinton and two Ukrainian foundations, headed by Elena Franchuk and Victor Pinchuk, signed an agreement of cooperation today that will expand the work against HIV/AIDS in Ukraine.
Under the agreement Ukraine will receive access to the best practices to fight epidemics and the latest know-how in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. The Elena Franchuk ANTIAIDS foundation will cooperate with Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative for the next five years in implementing project aimed at reducing HIV/AIDS escalation, care and support of people living with HIV/AIDS in Ukraine. Elena Franchuk and Victor Pinchuk are contributing US$2.5 million toward the project.
The funds will be used during the next five years to pay for programs aimed at slowing the growth of new HIV/AIDS cases, as well as for treatment and support of people living with HIV/AIDS in Ukraine.
"I'm happy to be working with the Elena Franchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation on expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment services in Ukraine," President Clinton said. "Through their generous support, we will be able to greatly increase the number of people with access to these services, and I am grateful for the partnership."
"The work of Clinton Foundation made tremendous difference in treatment and care of people living with HIV/AIDS in many countries. I am sure that Ukraine will benefit from President Clinton's expertise," Elena Franchuk said. "For the ANTIAIDS Foundation this partnership means an expansion of our activities, which have been centered for the last three years on media campaigns. Now, to change the AIDS situation in Ukraine, the country needs the best international experience and know-how in combating the epidemics."
Work during the first year of the project will be centered on the Dnepropetrovsk region, in the southeast part of Ukraine, which is home to more than 3 million people. The program's initiatives will be replicated in other regions of Ukraine in following years.
Specifically, the programs will work to increase access to rapid testing, improve laboratory capacity, train and mentor health care workers, introduce HIV treatment/substitution therapy and to improve drug procurement processes. The program will also work nationally in Ukraine to expand HIV testing legislation, develop rapid HIV test guidelines, register methadone for use and improve distribution and drug procurement processes and prices.
The agreement is the result of discussions started in 2004, when representatives of The Clinton Foundation visited Ukraine at the invitation of Ms. Franchuk. Following that visit an agreement between the Clinton Foundation and the government of Ukraine was signed, which assisted the government in receiving access to the lowest prices on generic antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS treatment. The agreement allowed more patients in Ukraine to receive access to live-saving therapy as part of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria grant.
The work continued in 2005 during President Clinton's visit to Ukraine, with the signing of a memorandum which identified priority directions of cooperation of Clinton Foundation and the Government of Ukraine in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The five year program resulted from that memorandum. The Elena Franchuk "ANTIAIDS" Foundation and the Victor Pinchuk Foundation expressed their readiness to join efforts in the implementation of this project and committed the US$2.5 million.