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The East Hospital is training Ukrainian healthcare professionals who will continue to provide treatment and care for tuberculosis patients in the war-torn country

This week, from 9 to 12 April 2024, four female healthcare professionals from the Tuberculosis Service of Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine, came to Riga East University Hospital (East Hospital) for a study and experience exchange visit to the Centre of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases to learn the latest methods of treatment and care of tuberculosis patients and more effectively organise outpatient medical care for patients in the war-affected country where inpatient treatment is often not possible.

The aim of the visit and training is not only to learn the latest knowledge and methods in tuberculosis patient care, but also to identify and initiate the transition from conventional inpatient treatment to outpatient therapy approaches. The healthcare professionals came from Kharkiv Oblast, which often suffers from Russian attacks, so hospital treatment in this area is not always available in wartime, and the healthcare professionals have to find non-standard and creative solutions for outpatient tuberculosis treatment, which, like any infectious disease, has a higher risk of spreading in wartime.

Līga Kukša, head of the Department of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases at the Centre of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, Head of the Collaborating Centre of the World Health Organization (WHO): “Our Ukrainian colleagues will learn about the most effective methods and best practices to treat tuberculosis and will apply the acquired knowledge in their daily work when organising health care processes for tuberculosis patients in Kharkiv region. This is undoubtedly a difficult and complicated task, but an extremely necessary one, even in times of war. This is also an opportunity to further develop the healthcare system by providing a more effective and patient-friendly approach to tuberculosis treatment, which is particularly important in a war situation where hospital treatment is more inaccessible. I am really impressed and pleased by the commitment of the Ukrainian healthcare professionals to continue to improve the standard of care for tuberculosis patients and to provide better treatment and care for patients in Ukraine.”

When Ukrainian healthcare professionals Tetiana Synenko, Svitlana Sumets, Svitlana Tiahlo and Yulia Timoshenko return to Kharkiv, they are determined to share the knowledge and experience gained in Latvia to improve the treatment and care of tuberculosis patients in their region and country.

Tuberculosis as a public health issue has not lost its relevance – the global situation, world events and socio-economic conditions continue to make tuberculosis an epidemiological threat. Tuberculosis remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases. Every day, an average of 4,400 people worldwide lose their lives to tuberculosis, and around 30,000 people get infected with this preventable and treatable disease. The Covid-19 pandemic, global war and conflict, and socio-economic inequalities are major factors that have affected the progress made over the years in the fight to end tuberculosis and have added to the burden of the disease on affected people, especially in the most vulnerable populations.

The visit of the Ukrainian healthcare professionals was organised and supported by the East Hospital, WHO Collaborating Centre in Latvia, Latvian Society Against Tuberculosis, WHO Country Office in Ukraine, TBnet Academy and association Tavi draugi.


About the East Hospital 

Riga East University Hospital is the largest and most strategically important multi-profile hospital in the country. The hospital consists of five clinical centres: Clinical Centre of Emergency Medicine Gailezers, Oncology Centre of Latvia, Clinical Centre Biķernieki, Centre of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases and Latvian Centre of Infectious Diseases with centres and clinics of different profiles. The hospital provides highly specialised inpatient and secondary outpatient healthcare, providing multidisciplinary tertiary-level treatment and care in line with modern technologies and medical knowledge. The hospital provides treatment for about 80% of all cancer patients in Latvia. The hospital provides a practical training base for both Latvian and foreign students and provides continued professional development and knowledge transfer for health professionals in our country and abroad. The hospital conducts scientific research and develops innovative methods for treating patients. The hospital is the third largest employer in the country, with around 5,000 employees.