Many years of war, political instability – and now the coronavirus: Ukraine, where around 1.3 million people have been infected so far and 25,000 have died because of or with COVID-19, is in good need of help.
As a result, the new phase of the ongoing support by KfW in the area of social infrastructure is now very welcome.
At the beginning of February, a contract worth EUR 13.1 million was signed, which KfW is providing on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to improve twelve medical facilities.
The outpatient general practitioners and specialists are the first point of contact in case of illness for the people of the five districts in eastern Ukraine that are to benefit from the aid.
They also provide ambulatory follow-up care for COVID-19 patients. However, many of them are in a dilapidated condition and also do not meet the requirements for the treatment of people infected with Corona.
They are now to be strengthened by a patient-friendly and energy-efficient renovation of their premises.
They will also receive state-of-the-art medical equipment, including devices for diagnosing COVID-19 consequential diseases and protective clothing for the staff. The need is enormous – as shown by the requests to the Ukrainian Social Investment Fund (USIF), which coordinates the funds and their use.
Cooperation between KfW and USIF has existed for over 12 years. Since then, KfW has spent almost EUR 70 million on behalf of the German Federal Government to build and expand social infrastructure in Ukraine, supporting nearly 500 projects, including schools, kindergartens, cultural and medical facilities, water pipes, and accommodation for internally displaced persons.
For example, additional kindergarten places were provided for more than 2,500 children in Kiev and Lviv.
The new phase under the Corona theme is also set against the backdrop of the “Good Governance” programme agreed between Germany and Ukraine in 2019, which is intended to promote decentralisation and delegate more powers to regional and municipal decision-makers.
Therefore, the implementation of the individual projects through the USIF also contributes to strengthening decentralised administrative structures and capacity building.
Since the health reform, the municipalities have sovereignty over the local health centres – but since they suffer from a chronic shortage of funds, they cannot financially support the rehabilitation of the partly desolate facilities.
This is where German support comes in so that medical care can be improved, especially in the countryside and in the more remote areas of eastern Ukraine.