Ukrainian President Yushchenko Instructs Cabinet Ministers To Draft National HIV/AIDS Program for 2009-2013
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko recently released a document instructing ministers in the country's Cabinet to draft and approve a national HIV/AIDS program for 2009 to 2013, the Ukrainian News reports. Yushchenko gave the ministers a deadline of April 15, 2008, to draft and approve the program (Shpakovskyi, Ukrainian News, 12/12). Yushchenko last week in a meeting with Cabinet ministers and the Ministry of Health said that the government's work in fighting HIV/AIDS in the country has been inadequate (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 12/6).
Yushchenko ordered the Cabinet to develop measures for conducting large-scale HIV prevention programs, as well as for providing access to HIV testing and treatment. According to the document, the government within one month also must ensure that various programs and departments responsible for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other diseases are operating effectively. The document also calls on the Cabinet to increase the work of the National Council for Fighting Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, as well as improve the system that registers and purchases medicines, such as antiretroviral drugs.
In addition, Yushchenko ordered the Cabinet to develop within two weeks measures to fulfill Ukraine's obligations to the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria concerning the introduction of substitute therapy programs for injection drug users, the News reports. The government also was instructed to ensure the creation of an advertising campaign aimed at preventing HIV, as well as to take steps aimed at developing partnerships with international donor organizations, the News reports.
According to the World Bank, there are more than 117,000 HIV-positive people and more than 21,700 people living with AIDS in Ukraine. According to estimates by various health experts, the actual number of HIV/AIDS cases in the country is about 400,000, the News reports. The World Bank estimates that the number of HIV-positive people in the country will double to 820,000 by 2014 and that people ages 20 to 34 will account for 75% of all new HIV cases (Shpakovskyi, Ukrainian News , 12/12).
In related news, Yushchenko recently established a coordinating council on HIV/AIDS, TB and drug addiction to serve as a consultative body under the presidency, the News reports. The Presidential Secretariat's head, Viktor Baloha, will submit draft provisions on the coordinating council, as well as proposals from council members, within two months (Shpakovskyi, Ukrainian News, 12/12).