From the beginning of April 2022, the project “Emergency response in connection with the war to support internally displaced people within Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees abroad amongst the representatives of key populations and PLHIV” (Help Now Hub) is ongoing.

On February 24, 2022, russia began a devastating attack on Ukraine. During the next weeks, the escalation of the war forced millions to flee their homes in search of shelters and help. According to* Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as of March 31, 5 weeks after the russian attack began, the number of Ukrainian refugees abroad had reached 4 million. 6.5 million Ukrainians have become internally displaced people. And as hostilities continue, those numbers could rise.

Among the refugees are certainly representatives of key groups** of the “Emergency response in connection with the war to support internally displaced people within Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees abroad amongst the representatives of key populations and PLHIV” Project (Emergency Response, Regional Project SoS 2.0 supported by the Global Fund) led by the Alliance for Public Health and launched in April 2022.

The main goal of this project is to provide support and assistance to Ukrainian refugees from key population groups moving to other countries and within Ukraine over the next 3 months, including access to information resources, navigation of needs and connection to relevant services related to the provision of appropriate treatment (ART, OST, anti-tuberculosis drugs, etc.). The key areas of work are:

– Information support (preparing and dissemination of information materials about contacts, testing, counseling, adherence to treatment, use of services, support and development of the #HelpNow online service);

– Support navigation and coordination (rapid assessment of existing services, resources and opportunities provided and available to refugees from Ukraine, including access to important services related to HIV / drug use / hepatitis, as well as more general social and life support) and identifying key gaps. Also, planning work in the country and abroad based on the results of this assessment (information support, creation of additional opportunities for social support, legal support, including relevant procurement and process management);

– Immediate social (humanitarian) support, based on a rapid assessment of the situation to address certain gaps, on a case-by-case basis, for additional support or management of forwarding among existing relevant services.

“It is very difficult to predict what figures we will see among refugees and internally displaced people in a month or three, given the activity of hostilities and the likelihood of a “second wave”. But the project team clearly aims at continuous and appropriate support for every representative of vulnerable groups who will turn to us for help.” – comments Vlasta Brodska, Director of Alliance Consulting, Project Director. “Many people are already familiar with the work of our #HelpNow service, which started almost from the beginning of the war. And we are glad to inform you that more than 700 appeals have been successfully coordinated since its launch. We are currently working on the development of all areas of the project, first of all – the launch of a navigation center (hub) to regulate major activities in close cooperation with our partners in the countries where most Ukrainian refugees are currently – Poland and Germany***.”

Also, the planned activities of the project include organizing and systematizing information on available support to various organizations and government agencies in countries hosting Ukrainian refugees, providing technical assistance, including the development of alternative communication and coordination channels, online consultations on doctors (“telemedicine”) and further development of the complex HelpNow service.

“Analyzing the existing and potential needs of key vulnerable groups among migrants in host countries, it is worth looking at the situation in more detail. Therefore, the emphasis in the project is not only on the information component, but also on humanitarian aid and the development of shelters for migrants in two regions of Ukraine – Kyiv and Ivano-Frankivsk. Also, in the future we plan to create special emergency funds to cover the needs of Ukrainian migrants.” – adds Vlasta Brodska.

* –

** – HIV+, PWUD, MSM, etc.

*** – According to the Polish Border Guard Service, more than 2.4 million Ukrainians have crossed or moved to Poland. In Germany – 295 thousand refugees from Ukraine (according to the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs).