UNICEF provides support to the MoH of Ukraine in implementing the sector program Support of Infant Breastfeeding in Ukraine for 2006-2010 whose main task is to lower disease incidence among newborns, to increase a level of exclusive breastfeeding and implementation of the Expanded Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.
The concept of the Expanded Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative was developed by UNICEF in collaboration with the MoH of Ukraine and the Mother and Infant Health Project (JSI) www.mihp.com.ua in 2005. In contrast to the main concept that covered only maternity houses and included Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding the new concept reaches all health facilities providing medical assistance to mothers and children and incorporates not only breastfeeding but also all antenatal, prenatal, neonatal and pediatric practices.
The expanded concept also requires new approaches to clients and provides creation of family-friendly environment and conditions: training of married couples before childbirth, partner involvement in childbirth and free attendance of a mother and a baby in the maternity department, creation of individual family labour wards and a school of responsible fatherhood including mother support. The new concept accordingly requires intensive training of medical staff in approaches based on human rights and evidence-based medicine. Currently this initiative is fully integrated into a system of medical assistance to mothers and children in Ukraine and funded from state central and local budgets, so UNICEF is only assigned to provide its sustained development and progress.
Observance of the International Code on Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes remains a special issue in Ukraine because this international document has not been ratified in the country (only its several provisions are reflected in various legal acts). Despite of the fact that relevant MoH Order envisages observance of the Code requirements in all health care institutions providing services to mothers and children, they are often violated because of lack of knowledge and understanding of their contents. That is why UNICEF in the first place focused on training of health workers by developing an eight-hour training course, which is now a mandatory component of medical staff training.
Jointly with WHO and MoH of Ukraine UNICEF is working on adaptation and implementation of the Integrated Childhood Diseases Management for Ukraine. This approach provides simple and effective methods for prevention and treatment of basic causes for severe child diseases, which is based on facts and observations, rational and accessible use of remedies. The approach also includes monitoring of vaccinations, physical and psychomotor development of a child, consulting of parents on child care and on recognition of dangerous sings signaling about a necessity to immediately apply for medical assistance.
This approach is developed for using in conditions of limited access to diagnostic equipment, selection of remedies and clinical procedures, therefore it is more suitable for rural medicine. That is why pilot implementation of the Integrated Childhood Diseases Management supported by UNICEF will start in rural locality after intensive training of family doctors. The project also provides implementation of a system of computerized individual training of health workers by means of ICATT software developed by the WHO European Bureau.
Vaccination is the only way to protect a child against dangerous infections. All children have the right for vaccination, so UNICEF together with WHO provides to the Government of Ukraine assistance in provision of this right. UNICEF facilitates fulfillment of arrangements of Ukraine with the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI) and works towards renovation of trust to vaccination in conditions of aggressive anti-vaccination campaign launched in Ukraine.