On 18 October, a Swiss Humanitarian Aid convoy reached the city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. The Swiss team accompanying the convoy delivered a new tuberculosis diagnostic device and associated supplies (total value: CHF 180,000) to the Luhansk Tuberculosis Clinic. Since the outbreak of the conflict in 2014, Switzerland has been the only humanitarian actor that has delivered tuberculosis diagnostic devices to Luhansk, a region at risk of a tuberculosis epidemic.
When the conflict began in eastern Ukraine in the summer of 2014, the laboratory of the Luhansk Tuberculosis Clinic came under fire and sustained damage. Since then, patients have had to wait nearly two months to be diagnosed with this dangerous disease. The Swiss relief goods brought into the non-government-controlled area (NGCA) allow doctors to diagnose tuberculosis quickly and efficiently – within a few hours. Swift detection of the disease is crucially important because every undiagnosed case of tuberculosis is a potential time bomb that could infect many other people.
Ukraine has the highest number of new tuberculosis cases per year in Europe. Moreover, according to WHO statistics, more and more cases of antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis are appearing in the Luhansk region. Ukraine ranks fifth worldwide in this respect.
The Swiss relief supplies were transported by lorry to their destination across the 'contact line' near Donetsk. Three members of Swiss Humanitarian Aid and and its operational pool specialists (SHA) accompanied the convoy. The humanitarian operation was carried out in cooperation with the UN.
This consignment is the seventh that Switzerland has sent to the conflict region since spring 2015. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is the only state actor to organise humanitarian convoys delivering aid for the people living on both sides of the contact line in the conflict region in eastern Ukraine.
In addition to humanitarian activities in the eastern part of the country, the SDC has been engaged in development cooperation in Ukraine for several years now. In particular, it has carried out major projects in the health sector. Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe is committed to promoting internal cohesion in Ukraine, including democratic governance and sustainable social and economic development. Its active involvement extends to governance and peacebuilding, improvements in healthcare, the prevention of non-communicable diseases, energy efficiency, and sustainable urban and economic development. Switzerland provides humanitarian assistance through direct interventions and as part of international relief efforts.
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