DOTS-PLUS, Ukraine's first project for struggle against drug-resistant tuberculosis has been launched. It will be funded in full by SCM's Foundation for development of Ukraine
The project will be implemented by the World Heath Organization [WHO] within the framework of DOTS anti-tuberculosis strategy approved by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (Order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine No. 318 of May 24, 2006), with the financial support to the project to be provided by SCM's Foundation for Development of Ukraine.
The pilot project will be implemented in Donetsk Oblast on the basis of DOTS anti-tuberculosis strategy which was successfully implemented by WHO in 2001-2004 and presently is performed throughout Ukraine. The period of implementation of the pilot project DOTS-PLUS is 4 years. Foundation for Development of Ukraine will allocate EUR 2,260,000, thus funding the project in full. The Government (represented by Regional Health Department in Donetsk Oblast), WHO (as a technical advisor) and SCM's Foundation for Development of Ukraine which will provide funding and attract public attention to the problem of tuberculosis in Ukraine will participate in the project.
"According to official statistical data, Ukraine is facing tuberculosis epidemics, the epidemic threshold is considerably exceeded, and presently, there are 85 TB patients per 100,000 citizens. The key problem of epidemics is the Government's lacking for sufficient funds to support the diagnostic system which was approved as back as the USSR era," Mr. Kęstutis Miškinis, the medical anti-tuberculosis adviser, a WHO representative to Ukraine, said. "Nowadays, Ukraine has made first steps to implement DOTS, a world-recognized effective anti-tuberculosis strategy allowing to struggle against the disease with lesser amounts of funding. Still, there is a number of issues requiring systemic approach. One of the most difficult problems is a lack of system which would allow revealing and treating acute tuberculosis (DRTB). It is the problem the DOTS-PLUS program is developed to solve."
Over 10% of Ukraine's TB patients are DRTB patients. DRTB pathogen (modified bacillus Kochii) is resistant to anti-tuberculosis drugs currently used. Lack of system for struggle against DRTB is one of the most important problems of tuberculosis epidemics in Ukraine: the TB patients (this disease is almost incurable to date) not only have no chances to be cured, but also infect other people with this modified strain.
The creation of effective system of DRTB diagnostics and treatment will secure the success of struggle against tuberculosis epidemics in Ukraine as a whole. DOTS-PLUS, an effective strategy for struggle against DRTB, is based on the effective diagnostics of bacillus Kochii strains (such system was successfully implemented in Donetsk Oblast within the framework of DOTS pilot project in 2001-2004). To treat DRTB patients within the framework of DOTS-PLUS project in Donetsk Oblast, the tuberculous laboratories will be duly equipped, the medical personnel will be trained, and a treatment control system will be created (including health services). The patients will be provided with free drugs which are effective for this form of tuberculosis.
"We have supported this project since it is in line with the philosophy of our Foundation: we struggle against reasons rather than results. An effective system of revealing and monitoring DRTB patients will be created within the framework of the DOTS-PLUS project. For us it is extremely important that after completion of the project this system will not collapse or disappear, it will be effective without our support, and the Government will take up this program," Mr. Anatoliy Zabolotny, Director of SCM's Foundation for Development of Ukraine, stated. "This is the first example of funding by the private business of systemic anti-tuberculosis programs in Ukraine. We are confident that Ukraine's serious social problems can be solved only under condition of effective cooperation of the Government and business. At the same time, we realize that this problem can not be completely solved without attracting a rapt public attention to it."
Attracting public attention to the problem of tuberculosis in Ukraine, fostering correct attitude to the tuberculosis problem and responsible attitude to one's health will be some of the basic tasks the project participants will direct their efforts at.
Foundation for Development of Ukraine is a non-profitable organization founded by SCM Group on July 15, 2005.
The budget of the Foundation is formed at the expense of SCM Company. The areas of activity of the Foundation include: contemporary education, health of the nation and cultural heritage.
The projects of the Foundation for Development of Ukraine are being implemented in seven Oblasts of Ukraine (Kyiv, Lvov, Zakarpatie, Kharkov, Lugansk, Dnepropetrovsk and Donetsk Oblasts) and in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations specialized agency for health. It was established on 7 April 1948. WHO's objective, as set out in its Constitution, is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health. Health is defined in WHO's Constitution as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
DOTS is the internationally-recommended TB control strategy and combines five elements: sustained government commitment, effective laboratory-based diagnosis, standard short-term chemotherapy, secure drug supply, and systematic monitoring and reports.
DOTS PLUS Strategy, in contrast to DOTS, is aimed at fighting drug-resistant tuberculosis.