The capacity of the workforce capacity remains challenged with regard to rapid response teams, epidemiological surveillance and laboratory testing. The clinical workforce is relatively well distributed across the dedicated COVID-19 facilities in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Public Health system is being reformed at the moment and the emergency response mechanism has not been fully developed and tested at the moment when the outbreak began.
In order to increase the numbers of workforce across the country, medical students reserved to be hired as a surge capacity measure. Financial incentives are envisaged for healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients. On 31 March 2020, the Ministry of Health has identified a list of medical professions involved in the treatment of COVID-19 cases in order to set payments to triple the base salary. Furthermore, additional resources have been allocated to ensure transport of the healthcare workers while public transport became unavailable.
The Ministry of Health has issued an order requiring healthcare personnel to pass WHO online courses on clinical management and infection protection and control (IPC). Additional IPC training is ongoing in the regions. The professional societies deliver dedicated trainings and sessions to the concerned medical professionals. On 6 April 2020, the MoH published recommendations (video) of the WHO and CDC on the protection of medical personnel and UPHC has issued an online video course on collection, storage and transportation of COVID-19 samples. See:
On 16 April 2020 the Ministry of Health launched an online consultation platform for leading anesthesiologists-resuscitators and all other specialized doctors in Ukraine for sharing experience in the treatment of COVID-19 patients with moderate and severe cases.
Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined in health worker’s job descriptions. Redeployed medical personnel follow the same training guidelines as the core response clinical teams. Supervisory measures are not comprehensively implemented and fall under the hospital management team.
On 12 May, WHO and Ukrainian Public Health Centre (UPHC) launched a special course for health workers working in emergencies, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, to improve the skills of health professionals in providing psychosocial support to the population, as well as help physicians to master the skills of stress management in the workplace. The course consists of three modules: (i) for health care managers; (ii) for medical workers to provide psychosocial assistance to the population; (iii) for health professionals to maintain their own well-being during difficult times.
On 13 May, the Government updated the list of occupational diseases that may be acquired by health professionals as a result of their professional activities with the coronavirus disease COVID-19. For treatments to medical and other employees who became infected with COVID-19 during their duties, the Social Insurance Fund of Ukraine compensates for lost earnings in the amount of 100% of average income, regardless of length of service. As of 13 October, since the beginning of the pandemic, the the Social Insurance Fund has financed more than UAH 3.2 mln. hryvnias in such compensations, and payments have been received by almost 600 doctors, nurses and other workers engaged in counteracting the spread of COVID-19.
For the period of March-May, UPHC and WHO conducted a number of trainings for healthcare workers in 200 designated hospitals for COVID-19 treatment on using and disposal of PPE. During summer period WHO provided technical support and strategic guidance to MOH and UPHC on WHO recommendations on technical requirements for PPE and IPC essential commodities. Also numbers of webinars on patient triage and healthcare providers testing in frames of COVID-19 pandemic have been conducted.
With the aim of supporting the response to COVID-19 in Ukraine and sharing knowledge on treatment measures, the experts of the EU project “Support to Ukraine for developing a modern public health system” organised a series of video conferences for Ukrainian healthcare workers. On May 19 and 29, 2020, two video conferences on COVID-19 treatment practices were conducted with the participation of German physicians from Heinsberg Hospital, who have been involved in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Ukrainian doctors had a chance to discuss the most relevant issues on COVID-19 treatment experience.
Additional credits: Dr Elina Dale; Dr Vitalii Stetsyk; Dr Liudmyla Slobodianyk;Mr Artem Skrypnyk;Ms Olga Demeshko; Ms Anastasiya Brylova; Ms Tetiana Dolhova