Press Release: Increased Protection for Vulnerable Women in Kyiv

April 20th, 2020    News

A woman and three young children are playing with a toy airplane

The Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health (UFPH), a HealthRight International subsidiary, has won the government tender to fulfill the tasks of the Kyiv City Program “Children. Family. Capital 2019-2021,” marking a tremendous move towards ensuring the protection and rehabilitation of vulnerable mothers with young children and women in difficult life circumstances.

Under this new program, UFPH will enhance its provision of day care and social housing services within Kyiv City. Funding for the Service Center and Halfway House is now 1.5 million UAH (62,500 USD). These resources will cover staffing, client meals, and other psychological, social, and legal services for women at risk. In addition, UFPH received preliminary approval for 2.5 million UAH (104,000 USD) for the Kyiv City Program “Social Partnership.” UFPH will continue the process of negotiating with the Social Security department for additional support to expand our work with vulnerable populations in the Service Center and the Halfway House.

In September-December we conducted active advocacy work to fund our HealthRight Service Center and Halfway House from the Kyiv City budget. We organized visits of ambassadors from Canada and Sweden, conducted meetings with representatives from the Ministry of Social Policy, the Ministry of Health, and Kyiv City Council deputies, participated in sessions of healthcare and social security commission of KCSA, published a number of articles in newspaper, and even provided media coverage of the problem on radio and TV. At the same time, we are very concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 situation in Ukraine and the sustainability of this local budget financing.” – Halyna Skipalska, UFPH Executive Director.

“Funds, received by UFPH, a HealthRight International subsidiary, were received for funding of activities on HIV-prevention, risky behavior and combating gender based violence and domestic violence. It emphasizes recognition of social and psychological services that are provided by NGOs, by the state and Kyiv local authorities. Those examples of sustainability in Ukraine would inspire other countries to cooperate with local authorities and governments. Besides that, we are concerned in what way the response of governments, funds re-budgeting on the strengthening of the healthcare system on the subject of COVID-19 would influence on vital services for vulnerable populations” –Dr. Peter Navario, HealthRight International Executive Director.

The UFPH team is grateful to Maryna Khonda, the Deputy Head of Kyiv City State Administration (KCSA), who personally visited the Halfway House and spoke with women there, Volodymyr Prokopiv, the Kyiv City Council secretary, Valerii Tantsiura, Head of the Kyiv City Family and Children Service, Yaroslava Kolobova, Director of Kyiv City Center of Social Services, and management of Social Welfare Department of KCSA, for their attention to the work of the Service Center and the Halfway House and their support of the decision to raise funding.

For over 12 years, UFPH has been implementing programs to assist women and children in difficult life circumstances, such as victims of domestic violence, HIV-positive women, women who use drugs, their children and representatives of these groups in Kyiv. Since 2014, HealthRight has developed services for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and survivors of torture among Ukrainian military and civilians in response to the crisis caused by the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

A woman and three young children are playing with a toy airplane

The Halfway House (shelter) was established by HealthRight International and its local entity Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health, in partnership with the Kyiv City Center of Social Services for Family, Children and Youth, and since May 2013, with financial support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Olena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation, and the MAC AIDS Fund. The Halfway House provides residence-based rehabilitation services for pregnant women and new mothers in difficult living circumstances caused by domestic violence, risky behavior or displacement due to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine for 3 to 6 months. There, women and their children find a temporary shelter and help from social workers, psychologists and lawyers. “Money received from the Kyiv budget will be used for the Halfway House upkeep (utility bills), food procurement, detergents, goods of first priority for the shelter clients, and also staff salaries” – told Iryna Bilogolovko, the Halfway House Manager. The shelter can accommodate up to six women and seven children.

The HealthRight Women and Girls Service Center was opened in May 2010 at the Kyiv City Center for Social Services with financial support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Olena Pinchuk Foundation. In 2014-2019 it was financially supported by MAC AIDS Fund. The Service Center works both with women who survived domestic violence and adolescents at risk, particularly with those who are registered in Juvenile section of the Probation department and women who are given suspended sentence or were recently released from detention facilities. Today, the center continues to provide HIV-prevention outreach services in residences, vocational schools, and probation centers. Adolescents in conflict with the law and their families receive comprehensive psychosocial and legal assistance, follow-up to health care facilities and state agencies, and testing for HIV, STIs and hepatitis. “We conduct tests, and if needed, redirect them to AIDS centers and health facilities, help to accept the HIV status and to get the need of proper treatment for the virus seriously.” – said Liudmyla Sabadash, Service Center Manager. Since its opening, a total number of 3,023 clients received services at the center.

###

Contact: Halyna Skipalska
halyna.skipalska@healthright.org
Tel: +38 (044) 279 7092