The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging enough. But fighting the disease in a country in conflict is even more challenging.
That doesn’t stop the many dedicated women and men who work on the front lines for WHO from continuing their essential work. Staff at the WHO Country Office in Ukraine are no exception. The office’s Health Cluster Coordinator is a seasoned humanitarian who has worked in numerous emergency settings in Africa and is now witnessing different trends in his current post.
Elderly people with disabilities are being hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis in Ukraine since many are isolated and have limited capacity to deal with the related challenges.
The WHO staff member recognizes that the conflict is adding to an already difficult situation, notably by creating a lack of access to essential health services in a country where the health system was in a fragile state before the pandemic.
He now leads one of the major pillars in the COVID-19 response with the WHO Health Emergencies Programme in Ukraine, that of health information, epidemiology (surveillance) and contact tracing – working in close collaboration with other response pillars. His work also covers predictive modelling of the outbreak and assessing health system readiness to cope with potential surges of new infection.
The Ukraine WHO office is dedicated to supporting and sustaining the existing health-care system by providing training and delivering life-saving equipment as well as disseminating information about COVID-19 to partners in the eastern conflict area.
For the Health Cluster Coordinator, it is crucial not to take sides in a potential conflict to carry out its n mission. Priority assistance must be given to those who are in need first.
Source: World Health Organization