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Medical kits intended for doctors and distributed by the United Nations Population Fund can be used to care for female patients with COVID-19

April 9, Kyiv. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) continues to address issues related to Ukrainian women’s sexual and reproductive health. In 2019, 15 medical institutions in Donbas received medical kits from the United Nations Population Fund as part of the project "Response to acute humanitarian issues (sexual and reproductive needs) of the most vulnerable women and adolescent girls in eastern Ukraine." 

“Each kit contains all the necessary tools, medications and medical devices to provide a certain type of obstetric and gynecological care. There are kits to help survivors of sexual violence, kits for the post-exposure prophylaxis, contraception, kits for normal and complicated labor, kits to help in case of miscarriage and complications after abortion, for treating sexually transmitted infections (STIs),” says Bohdan Pidverbetskyi, the UNFPA Reproductive Health Project Officer.

In particular, about 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been registered in Donetsk region so far. Nevertheless, the region's health care system is very much overstretched. There is a shortage of medical staff, and about 1,500 health care professionals have left the region due to the conflict. 

At the same time, UNFPA’s 11th medical kit could come in useful to doctors working with infected patients. 

"It contains a sterile protective suit, goggles and other protective equipment for medical staff, which are used for surgery in patients living with HIV. It also contains antiseptic solution of chlorhexidine, solutions for intravenous infusion and antimalarial drug Chlorquinine sulfate", sums up Bohdan Pidverbetskyi.

One of the beneficiaries of the Fund's assistance was the Pokrovsk Perinatal Center, where the United Nations Population Fund's medical and psychological care point for survivors of gender-based violence (HSDP) is based.

“Last year we had 1,200 childbirths. The treatment of one patient in critical condition could cost UAH 120,000, caring for a premature baby - from several to tens of thousands of hryvnias. The cost is partially covered by relatives, but not everyone has financial capabilities. It is a great amount of money and such cases are not rare here”, says the Head Physician Ivan Tsyganok. 

Apart from a Health Service Delivery Point (HSDP) for survivors of gender-based violence in Pokrovsk, 16 similar HSDPs were opened across Ukraine with the support of the United Nations Population Fund: 5 - in Donetsk oblast, 5 - in Luhansk oblast, also in Vinnytsia, Kryvyi Rih, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, and Kherson. Every point providing medical and psychological care has high-quality medical equipment, all essential medicines and qualified medical staff working there. Importantly, each IPA is equipped with a special gynecological examination chair for people with disabilities.

According to UNFPA’s statistics, only 32% of survivors of physical and/or sexual violence ask for help. Only 1% of women come to see a physician. This happens due to survivors’ psychological barrier and fear of publicity. However, all HSDPs provide confidentiality. Moreover, most of them have a separate entrance to such rooms to preserve the anonymity of visits.