Pact to lead effort to strengthen Ukraine’s health resilience and protect citizen health in wake of war

May 13, 2022
Ukrainian flag flies outside of a building in Kyiv. Photo credit: Brian Clark/Pact.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has selected Pact to lead the Ukraine Public Health Systems Recovery & Resilience (PHS R&R) project, a five-year, $45 million effort to protect the health of all Ukrainians, including vulnerable and marginalized populations. The project represents USAID’s largest investment to date in a single initiative to strengthen the Government of Ukraine’s capacity to respond to public health shocks, sustain critical public health services during a crisis, and expand mental health support to veterans and conflict-affected populations.  

Ukraine is under siege in a protracted, yet unpredictable war. Massive destruction of health care infrastructure, including at least 162 health facilities, has severely disrupted health and other critical services. Covid-19 and other infectious diseases remain a substantial threat, given low vaccination coverage in the country. War-related psychological trauma has affected the entire country, especially children who in many cases are separated from the people they traditionally rely on for support such as parents, teachers and other family members. Large-scale sexual violence has been inflicted on innocent civilians, particularly women and girls. In addition to violence, women’s health and safety have also been disproportionately impacted by the war, according to a recent UN Women and CARE report

“We expect PHS R&R will play a significant role in rebuilding Ukraine’s health system following the devastating impacts of the war,” said Michèle Laird, Pact’s Vice President of Programs. “Pact is deeply committed to supporting the well-being of the people of Ukraine. Together with our partners, we will address the new and urgent health challenges facing all Ukrainians that have resulted from and continue to develop as a result of the ongoing war.” 

PHS R&R was originally designed to strengthen Ukraine’s national health security, building on the momentum of recent public health reforms and the imperative to build a more resilient public health system and stronger partnerships with civil society and communities in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. The project will now focus on public health challenges resulting from the war, including humanitarian health needs; increased demand for community-based mental health services, including support for survivors of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence; and continuity of care for displaced and mobile populations.

Together with project partners – Swiss Tropical Institute of Public Health, Overseas Strategic Consulting, Ltd., the European Institute on Public Health Policy, the Ukrainian Coalition for Vaccination, and Temple University School of Public Health with Drexel University School of Public Health and Health Federation of Philadelphia – we will support a strengthened, resilient and durable public health system that will benefit all Ukrainians.