The war in Ukraine continues to threaten the lives, health and well-being of people who are displaced within the country and those living in frontline and formerly occupied areas. Hundreds of attacks on health facilities have damaged or destroyed critical infrastructure and left many people without medical care for months.
FHI 360’s Ukraine Humanitarian Assistance Response Program (UHARP) provides health, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), and protection services in conflict-affected areas. The program focuses on rural, hard-to-reach areas that were previously occupied by military forces. As of June 2023, FHI 360 has supported more than 41,000 people with health services and over 62,000 people with protective interventions in seven regions in the south and east of the country.
UHARP’s health services
FHI 360 supports 10 mobile medical teams working in conflict-affected areas in Ukraine: Dnipro, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia (see graphic below). The teams provide patients with health services, including primary care consultations, medications, electrocardiograms and ultrasounds. The teams deliver services directly, conduct home visits for people with limited mobility and hold clinic hours at existing health posts.
FHI 360 is also working with existing medical systems to strengthen their capacity to respond to the increasing needs arising from the conflict. In close partnership with regional and local governments, FHI 360 obtains and distributes pharmaceuticals, medical commodities, heaters and generators to primary health care facilities; trains health workers in emergency pre-hospital trauma care and mental health service delivery; places psychologists in primary health care facilities; provides training courses on stress management skills for local communities; repairs damaged facilities; and provides health and hygiene kits to local communities to help reduce the spread of communicable diseases.
The mobile medical teams also include social workers who help clients navigate disruptions in bureaucracy and regain access to their pensions and other government services.
UHARP’s MHPSS services
Through integrated health and protection programming, FHI 360 provides mental health and psychosocial support services to crisis-affected communities across southern and eastern Ukraine. FHI 360 supports psychologists and social workers in frontline areas to provide psychosocial support to community members in need. Through training and continuous mentorship, FHI 360 strengthens the capacity of doctors and nurses at primary health care facilities to provide diagnosis, care and treatment for mental health conditions.
In addition, FHI 360 offers structured courses on stress management skills in local communities. We also facilitate support groups in collective centers for people who have fled conflict, as well as for frontline workers, including medical staff.
UHARP’s protection services
In addition to working to improve health, the program provides important protection services to people who have experienced or who have a higher risk of experiencing gender-based violence (GBV). In collaboration with HealthRight International, we’re providing survivors of GBV with relevant support services, including mental health and psychological first aid, legal services, cash assistance, safe spaces for children, and distributions of dignity kits.
FHI 360 and HealthRight are also implementing activities through 10 response and care units, which provide coordinated, holistic care directly to survivors of GBV in displacement centers and shelters for people who have been displaced, as well as health care facilities and other places with high concentrations of displaced communities.
To increase awareness of GBV and ensure that access to specialized survivor care is within reach, we’re training and mentoring service providers and first responders on case management and referrals. Additionally, FHI 360 is implementing a community outreach program through which FHI 360 will work through a network of protection volunteers across southern and eastern Ukraine and will roll out an initiative to support civil society organizations to (1) provide quality services; (2) deliver critical protection outreach, including protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA); and (3) conduct protection monitoring.
FHI 360’s mobile medical teams are providing lifesaving health services to patients in Dnipro, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia. Graphic credit: Oleksandr Kovalenko, UHARP health program manager.