MARCH ISSUE OF USAID NEWSLETTER
USAID, Kyiv, Ukraine,
Mon, April 9, 2018
Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia Margot Ellis visited Foxprint Polygraphy, in Lysychansk, Luhansk Oblast, a USAID Economic Opportunities for People Affected by Conflict (EOPAC) activity grantee. The company used the grant to buy new equipment, which will allow it to accept larger orders, expand its product range, and increase company productivity. Foxprint was also able to hire four employees affected by the conflict in the East.
Senior USAID Official Visits Ukraine
From March 21-27, USAID Bureau for Europe and Eurasia Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator (SDAA) Margot Ellis visited Ukraine to meet with Mission staff and key USAID partners in Kyiv. She also traveled to the government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk to visit USAID activities. In Donetsk and Luhansk, SDAA Ellis saw the momentum and optimism among USAID’s current civil society and government partners that will be leveraged and expanded under new democratic governance and economic growth programs planned for the East.
USAID Facilitates Dialogue between the Ukrainian Legislature and the U.S. Congress
On February 27, USAID’s Ukraine Responsive and Accountable Politics Program (URAP), co- implemented by the National Democratic Institute, facilitated the first-ever video conference between the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus and the U.S.-Ukraine Friendship Group. U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick, Andy Harris, and Sander Levin represented the U.S. side, while six Ukrainian Members of Parliament represented Ukraine, including MP Hanna Hopko, who chairs the Verkhovna Rada Foreign Affairs Committee. The discussion focused on anti-corruption and security issues in Ukraine. The two sides decided to hold similar video conferences approximately every six weeks.
USAID Partner’s Annual Municipal Survey Indicates More Satisfaction with Local Government
On March 22, USAID partner, the International Republican Institute, publicly released its fourth annual national municipal survey. This year's survey indicates that Ukrainians are much more satisfied with their local government officials than with their national leadership. Drawing from a sample of more than 19,000 residents in 24 cities across Ukraine, including Mariupol and Severodonetsk in the Donbas region, the survey shows a gradual increase in economic optimism (23 cities noted improvements over the past 12 months) and continued improvement in how Ukrainians view their local governments. Corruption remains a key issue for citizens, who singled out medical and educational institutions as particularly problematic. On average, 12 percent of respondents reported paying bribes to educational institutions in the past two years, while an average of 27 percent paid bribes to medical institutions over the same period. The full survey is accessible here.
USAID Helps Ensure Justice for Conflict-Affected Individuals in Donbas
A USAID-supported legal aid center in Mariupol continues to find unique ways to provide quality legal information to conflict-affected people in the Donbas. The legal aid center began providing an advice column on legal matters to the region’s largest newspaper, Znamia Industrii (Flag of Industry). Since September 2015, the USAID-supported Mariupol legal aid center has provided legal aid to 1,251 victims of human rights violations on a wide range of issues, including housing and labor laws, reparations for inflicted damage, pension legislation, and social policy issues that pertain to internally displaced persons. USAID's Human Rights in Action Program, implemented by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, currently supports eight such legal aid centers in the eastern and southern Ukrainian cities of Mariupol, Slovyansk, Pokrovsk, Toretsk, Kramatorsk, Dnipro, Sumy, and Kherson, as well as one in Kyiv.
Photo courtesy of the USAID Municipal Energy Reform Project
USAID Municipal Energy Reform Project (MERP) Successfully Completes Energy Efficiency Promotion Efforts
USAID’s MERP held a conference on March 15 to discuss completion of its clean energy component and take stock of its contribution to energy reform in Ukraine. The event provided an opportunity to demonstrate USAID’s support to energy reforms in Ukraine and to present best practices. Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak and USAID/Ukraine Mission Director Susan K. Fritz presented opening remarks. Various MERP stakeholders participated, including members of Parliament, government officials, oblast and city administration managers, foreign and local experts, and representatives from donor organizations, local commercial banks, professional associations, NGOs, homeowner associations, utility managers, and academia. Participants discussed USAID MERP’s role in furthering energy reform in Ukraine and next steps for continuing energy efficiency efforts.
USAID Helps Improve Pension Fund of Ukraine Service Delivery by Providing New Computer Hardware
On February 27, USAID's Financial Sector Transformation (FST) Project formally transferred an integrated server/database to the Pension Fund of Ukraine. It is the only such system in Ukraine, with hardware and software valued at approximately $1 million. The equipment will be used to complete a centralized system for assignment and payment of pensions, ensuring that records and data are safeguarded and that pension benefits are administered efficiently across the country. IT modernization and centralized record-keeping system improvements will significantly reduce expenditures and the risks associated with data processing, while helping the new pension system to function smoothly and providing users with easy access to pension data. The USAID FST activity is implemented by Development Alternatives Incorporated Global, LLC.
Photo: courtesy of USAID Strengthening Tuberculosis Control in Ukraine project.
USAID Supports More Than 100 Communities in Ukraine to Champion Primary Healthcare Reform
USAID's HIV Reform in Action project, implemented by Deloitte, launched an effort on March 6 that will support 108 cities and rayons across Ukraine in championing the start of primary health care (PHC) and health financing reform. Starting July 1, PHC facilities will obtain financing based on the number of patient contracts registered with them through the National Health Service of Ukraine (NHSU), in what is known as a "money-follows-the-patient" principle. PHC facilities must complete five steps to be eligible to receive funding through the NHSU: 1) become a municipal non-profit enterprise, 2) computerize and connect to the Ministry of Health eHealth system, 3) ensure medical equipment and supplies compliance, 4) sign contracts with patients, and 5) sign a contract with the NHSU. USAID’s HIV Reform in Action will provide technical assistance to help the 108 communities through the reform process.
Head of New eHealth State-owned Enterprise Selected
On March 16, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (MoH) selected Denis Matsuy, an IT and organizational management expert from the private sector, to be General Director for MoH’s eHealth state-owned enterprise (SOE). USAID provided technical and legal assistance to set up the SOE, which will work with the newly-created National Health Service of Ukraine (NHSU) and re-structured MoH to further develop and implement the eHealth system. With a General Director in place, the SOE can officially begin operations. Health financing reforms require primary health care facilities to connect to eHealth to receive reimbursements through the NHSU beginning July 1. USAID will continue to support the SOE with technical assistance and capacity building. More information can be found here.
Ukraine to Make Effective Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) Drug Widely Available
On March 22, the eve of World TB Day, the pharmaceutical company Janssen submitted documents to officially register the new TB drug, bedaquiline, in Ukraine. Once registered, this very effective MDR-TB drug should become widely available, giving patients with the most serious cases of drug-resistant TB more hope for survival. USAID’s Challenge TB Project, implemented by PATH, worked extensively with the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the National TB Institute, oblast partners, and other stakeholders to advocate for introducing the new drug. With USAID’s support, in 2017 Ukraine received an initial 200 doses of bedaquiline from USAID’s Bedaquiline Donation Program. As of March 22, 2018, 100 patients are enrolled in bedaquiline treatment at the National TB Institute in Kyiv through USAID support. Once the drug registration process is completed, doctors throughout Ukraine will be able to use bedaquiline to treat the most difficult TB cases.
New Round of Community Development Projects in the Donbas Announced
The week of March 19 in Kharkiv, USAID and its partner, the From a Country to Ukraine NGO, announced a new round of community development projects to be implemented in 11 small communities across Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. These projects, ranging from the rehabilitation of parks and community spaces to support the development of community-based media, were identified by local groups who organized last year's From a Country to Ukraine Festivals, which focused on bringing a spirit of civic engagement and Ukrainian culture to small communities in Donetsk and Luhansk. The new projects will build the activist skills of participants and strengthen relationships between civil society and local government.
Photo from the WisecoW facebook page.
National Online Learning Network to Donetsk and Luhansk Audiences Launched
The week of March 5, USAID partner, Wisecow, one of the largest online learning networks in Ukraine, filmed a series of online lectures by Ukrainian historians and academics at community spaces in Kostiantinivka, Donetsk Oblast, and Starobilsk, Luhansk Oblast. The lectures are available online and will be broadcast this spring on Ukrainian television channel UA:1. Online learning has become a popular tool among young Ukrainians looking to build skills and experiences. Bringing the online learning network to Donbas will not only help Wisecow develop an audience in the East, but show cultural and intellectual leaders across Ukraine the positive changes that are happening in Donetsk and Luhansk. Online lectures are available here.
Independent Performance Evaluation Completed for Responsible, Accountable, Democratic Assembly (RADA) Activity
In November 2017, USAID retained Democracy International, an independent firm specializing in evaluations and analyses, to assess the relevance and effectiveness of the RADA Program implemented by the East Europe Foundation in advancing parliamentary reform, improving public representation in the legislative process, and strengthening independent legislative oversight of the executive branch. The evaluation showed that the RADA activity is on target in meeting its overall objectives. The evaluation report is now public and available here.
Billboard designed by USAID Municipal Energy Project.
Independent Performance Evaluation for MERP Activity Completed
In January 2017, USAID engaged QED Group to assess the relevance and effectiveness of MERP activities focused on enhancing Ukraine's energy security by improving the clean energy regulatory and legislative enabling environment and promoting investment in clean energy technologies and applications; and to identify MERP elements, models, or methodologies, which have significant potential for enhancing Ukraine's energy security in the next five years. The evaluation findings, conclusions, and recommendations will inform the Mission as it re-assesses its role in enhancing energy security in Ukraine. The evaluation report is now public and available here.
Impact Evaluation of USAID Tuberculosis Control Activity Shows Positive Results
An impact evaluation of USAID’s Strengthening Tuberculosis Control in Ukraine (STbCU) project, which was presented to stakeholders on March 14-16, found that integrating TB and HIV services significantly increased timely initiation of anti-retroviral therapy for HIV and that social support is an effective strategy for reducing treatment default among patients. USAID’s STbCU activity, which was implemented from March 2012 to April 2017, worked to decrease Ukraine’s TB burden and improve TB, including multi and extensively drug-resistant TB detection and treatment services. The project supported prevention and treatment activities to counter Ukraine's rapid increase in TB and HIV co-infection. After the presentation, representatives from the Government of Ukraine, the Red Cross, health care providers, and non-governmental organizations discussed the findings and recommendations on how to use them to inform future TB and HIV programming.
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