06 July 2021 

Despite the decrease of new COVID-19 cases in Ukraine and in view of the new virus variants, maintaining hygiene and sanitation standards remains a key requirement in the continuous fight against the virus. In conflict-affected communities, medical and social care facilities are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, helping the most vulnerable populations cope with the double burden of an eight-year conflict and the wide-reaching impact of the pandemic.

To ensure that people living in the conflict-affected areas are better protected against COVID-19, IOM delivered 445 hygiene kits to 40 medical and social institutions in the government-controlled areas of Donetsk Region during the latest round of distribution in May. Totaling 50 tons of consumables, including disinfectants, sanitizers, washing liquid, soaps and other cleaning items, this support was provided to many institutions which had been previously assisted with hygiene kits in the early stages of the pandemic. IOM prioritizes facilities that provide medical and social care to the most vulnerable, such as hospitals with COVID-19 units, elderly and specialized care homes for people with disabilities and mental health issues, orphanages, rehabilitation centres and homeless shelters.

Central District Hospital in Lyman, Donetsk Region

IOM has been supporting some of the facilities since the start of the pandemic, ensuring that there was no shortage of supplies. With this help, the risk of an outbreak of COVID-19 was mitigated in institutions where the virus could have been contracted by vulnerable patients, residents and visitors. Among them – a specialized care home with capacities to host 350 people, located in the town of Bakhmut, only 17 kilometres from the contact line. According to its director, Liudmyla Kostian, no COVID-19 cases were registered among the residents.

“IOM is committed to supporting local population in Donetsk Region in these challenging times when existing problems have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Vulnerable categories of people are the ones who found themselves in the most precarious situation. IOM hopes that the assistance provided will help support these institutions to manage their needs”, said Maksym Osavoliuk, the head of IOM Field Office in Kramatorsk.

In line with IOM multisectoral response approach, Marinka Central District Hospital, located in Krasnohorivka, received both rehabilitations and COVID-19 hygiene support. Recent shelling in May 2021 caused damage to the facility, including the breaking of all the windows in the COVID-19 designated wing of the hospital, leaving already vulnerable patients exposed.  To assist with the conflict damage, IOM installed thirty-two new windows as well as replaced doors and air-conditioning units to ensure that patients will be able to receive medical aid in safe conditions.  

Marinka Central District Hospital, Donetsk Region 

Through the project, implemented with the financial support of the U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, IOM has helped to improve hygiene conditions in 70 medical and social institutions in Donetsk Region since December 2020.