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Supporting cooperation with WHO - Maryna Slobodnichenko visited the organization’s headquarters in Geneva

19 October 2023

The World Health Organization is ready to continue to help and support Ukraine and to promote access to health care and rapid response to threats. The WHO also supports Ukraine in implementing the EU acquis. This was discussed during a series of meetings between Deputy Minister of Health Maryna Slobodnichenko and representatives of the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

“We are very grateful to the World Health Organization for its systematic support and readiness to further expand our cooperation, including in the European integration direction. We have a lot of work ahead of us, and thanks to the support of the WHO, we will be able to move faster,” said Maryna Slobodnichenko.

The results of the Geneva meetings will allow us to assess Ukraine’s needs and strengthen cooperation in certain areas.

  • During the meeting with Yukiko Nakatani and Hiiti Sillo, the parties discussed a number of issues related to reforming the pharmaceutical sector of Ukraine.

In particular, they enlisted the support of the WHO in establishing a new regulatory body in Ukraine. This body should unite all state regulations of drugs, medical devices, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products. In addition, Ukraine has already formed and submitted an application to the European Commission for participation in the Twinning program. This allows us to adopt the practical experience of business processes of a regulatory authority of an EU country, which is very valuable for Ukraine.

“Creating a new government agency is a rather lengthy process because we have to define not only its format, functions, and financing model but also take into account all the European integration requirements that we have to implement in Ukraine in the field of pharmaceutical regulation,” said the Deputy Minister of Health.

In addition, they discussed the benchmarking procedure - the WHO assessment of the national pharmaceutical regulatory system - and scheduled the start of this process for the second quarter of 2024. They also discussed the involvement of Ukrainian specialists as observers in pharmaceutical system audits in other countries.

  • The meeting with Mike Ryan and Altaf Musani focused on the current state of the healthcare system and issues of further cooperation.

They discussed the priority areas of WHO’s global support in 2024-2025: financial and humanitarian assistance, and recovery programs, including mental health.

Among other things, attention was paid to compliance with international health regulations and the public health system's readiness to respond to emergencies caused by biological, chemical and radiation risks.

  • The meeting with Shamsukhosa Sayed was devoted to potential areas of cooperation in the field of international medical partnership.

As far as it is known, the Ministry of Health, continuing to implement the First Lady’s initiative, is actively implementing international medical partnerships in Ukraine, establishing links between Ukrainian and foreign hospitals. WHO will support the Ministry in organizing the formation of such partnerships.

  • The meeting with Anshu Banerjee and Mark Humphrey focused on mental health system reform and human resources, in particular, they discussed the impact of war on the mental health of both patients and healthcare workers, especially children.

An important topic for discussion was the issue of changing policies to promote fertility, which is an essential aspect of reducing the demographic crisis in Ukraine.

Currently, the strategic cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the WHO Office in Ukraine is based on the Biennial Cooperation Agreement for 2022-2023, including the response to emergency health needs during the war. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine and WHO are working together on the draft of the next two-year cooperation agreement, which will include new challenges of the country and WHO support in implementing the planned activities.