A Pharmaceutical Innovator and Wartime Resource: How the SAFEMed Activity Is Meeting the Ever-Changing Needs of a Country Engulfed in War

November 01, 2023

A Pharmaceutical Innovator and Wartime Resource: How the SAFEMed Activity Is Meeting the Ever-Changing Needs of a Country Engulfed in War

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, USAID’s Safe, Affordable, and Effective Medicines (SAFEMed) for Ukrainians Activity quickly became a vital outlet for providing medical humanitarian aid to regions affected by the war. Since then, the program has helped the country manage and deliver USD 500 million worth of humanitarian supplies, medicines, and equipment, reaching more than 4,000 hospitals and equipping health care workers with the commodities they need to provide lifesaving care. With effective systems and strong leadership in place, SAFEMed helped transition the management of these efforts solely to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) Center for Public Health (CPH).

Over the past 16 months, SAFEMed has worked closely with the MOH, Medical Procurement of Ukraine, and CPH to ensure that the medical humanitarian aid that has been donated to the country is processed, distributed, and delivered to vulnerable hospitals. The logistical and technical support provided by SAFEMed has been instrumental in establishing a strong distribution system that can sustain these efforts as the war continues.

With support from the CPH, SAFEMed coordinated with national warehouses across the country to store, sort, and ship nearly 13,000 tons of medicines and equipment donated from all over the world to the Ukrainian people. Contracted logistics providers were responsible for ensuring that these items were delivered quickly and efficiently to regions and health care facilities in need. SAFEMed also worked with the Medical Procurement of Ukraine to enhance the MedData platform to track demand and deliveries at each health facility that was approved as a medical humanitarian aid recipient. While supporting this humanitarian assistance, SAFEMed continued to provide technical assistance to not only maintain but also strengthen the national supply chain system during the war and improve processes for distribution approval, demand tracking, and deliveries.

SAFEMed also provided support to regions most impacted by the war, including Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, and Kharkiv. Due to de-occupation of their territories and continuous armed conflict, these regions suffered significant infrastructure damage and staffing shortages. Seeing this destruction and the lack of health care professionals on the ground, SAFEMed quickly stepped in to help these regions overcome wartime challenges and make sure they had the support needed to effectively manage and distribute the health care commodities that have been delivered.

Earlier this year, SAFEMed, under the guidance of the MOH, began transferring the management of these efforts solely to the CPH. SAFEMed remained a reliable partner throughout this transition, providing support to the CPH where needed and ensuring that logistical matters, such as the warehousing of these items, would remain intact. This transition allows the Government of Ukraine to continue managing the humanitarian supply chain while giving SAFEMed the capacity to focus its efforts where needed within the pharmaceutical sector.

As this wartime effort carries on under the trusted guidance of the CPH, SAFEMed will continue to innovate and transform the country’s health care system to ensure that all Ukrainians have access to the essential medicines they need.

Chart detailing SAFEMed humanitarian assistance to Ukraine