President of Ukraine

Olena Zelenska: Cooperation Between Ukraine and WHO is Important for the Physical and Mental Health of Ukrainians

17 May 2024 - 18:42

Olena Zelenska: Cooperation Between Ukraine and WHO is Important for the Physical and Mental Health of Ukrainians

The First Lady Olena Zelenska met with Dr. Jarno Habicht, the Head of the World Health Organization Country Office in Ukraine, and thanked him for the effective cooperation between our country and WHO.

“Due to a strong increase in the number of healthcare professionals trained under the WHO mhGAP Programme, including family physicians, therapists, pediatricians, feldshers, and nurses — there are already almost 100,000 of them — Ukrainians can access mental health services with no need to visit a psychiatrist or psychologist,” the President's wife said.

She also emphasized the importance of creating interdisciplinary teams on the basis of Ukrainian specialized hospitals. There are already 84 of these teams in Ukraine. WHO started training them before the full-scale Russian invasion.

“These teams allow people to access care in their community, and not in a closed inpatient hospital. Not only is this innovative, but it is also very important for Ukraine. After all, the need for mental health support has almost doubled since the beginning of the full-scale invasion,” Olena Zelenska noted.

During the meeting, the parties also discussed the role of WHO in the implementation of the School Nutrition Reform, which is patronized by the First Lady. Recently, the WHO Country Office in Ukraine, in collaboration with the Special Initiative on Noncommunicable Diseases and Innovation (SNI) of the WHO Regional Office for Europe together with the World Food Programme (WFP), presented a policy brief “Expanding the national school meals programme in Ukraine.” The School Nutrition Reform Project Office also contributed to its development. According to this document, the national school meals programme is important for the whole country.

In addition, Olena Zelenska expressed hope that the World Health Assembly will adopt a Ukrainian-Dutch resolution on mental health this month.

“This important document should strengthen international support for Ukraine in overcoming the complex problems of physical and psychological recovery of Ukrainians in the face of Russia's armed aggression, and also help all countries experiencing mental health problems in various emergencies,” the President's wife said.