War in Ukraine

Special Address of the UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network to End Infectious Diseases

The UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network to End Infectious Diseases (UNITE), representing 80 countries from all geographic regions of the globe, expresses solidarity to Ukraine and its brave citizens in this testing times for their country, Europe, and the world at large. The Russian aggression claiming lives of hundreds of Ukrainian children, women and men has created a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented scale in Europe since World War II. We acknowledge and highly appreciate historic decisions made by the European Parliament and EU member states, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and other countries to strengthen defensive capacities of Ukraine and alleviate the human suffering during the war. At the same time, as the Global Parliamentarians Network focusing on health and welfare issues, UNITE reiterates the importance of providing timely and adequate healthcare and social assistance to children and adults staying amidst the armed conflict. Therefore, we address 215 members of the UNITE Global Network – current and former parliamentarians in 80 countries -, and all policy makers across the world, to take the following steps:
  1. Condemn the Government of the Russian Federation on the invasion and ongoing war in Ukraine as of February 2022, in clear violation of international law, in their statements at Parliaments, national assemblies, other key political forums and media, and focus on the essential humanitarian and healthcare needs of people during the crisis.

  2. Initiate and support approval and allocation of additional financial assistance from their respective governments for a direct, bi-lateral humanitarian and public health emergency assistance to Ukraine.

  3. Members of Parliaments in high-income, donor countries, to lead and/or participate in approval and allocation of additional financial resources for international humanitarian and development agencies (UNICEF, UNHCR, IFRC/ICRC and others) that are actively engaged in provision of emergency healthcare and social aid to Ukrainian people, with a particular focus on those in most vulnerable conditions.

  4. Promote an agenda to support the donation of essential medical resources such as medicines and medical devices to suppress the shortages of healthcare responses and materials that are already threatening the lives of millions, as stated by the World Health Organization, regarding the already dangerously low medical oxygen supplies in Ukraine alongside with predictable needs in terms of increasing the blood reserves in an international approach to support the ones in need.

  5. Support the call from the World Health Organization to establish a corridor to ensure humanitarian workers, health workers, and suppliers have safe and continued access to reach people in need in Ukraine.

  6. From an infectious disease’s perspective, it is particularly urgent to ensure access to essential medicines for chronic or treatable conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Viral Hepatitis. Access to harm reduction services, including low threshold methadone programs should equally be preserved.

  7. Acknowledge that infant mortality rate has decreased throughout the last years in Ukraine, and that to assure that this tendence is not broken, there is a need to commit and advocate to the maintenance and reinforcement of maternal and child programs, decreasing the number of preventable deaths.

  8. Support actions to allow the maintenance of essential healthcare programs such as vaccination, acknowledging that according to UNICEF, Ukraine has been leading the list of countries affected by measles outbreaks in the past few years, and that just in 2019 measles cases in Ukraine represented over half the total number reported in the WHO European Region. In addition, other infectious diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis were already putting children at risk before this war started.

  9. Address that this war has an impact on citizen health beyond bullets and bombs, and that the risk of infectious diseases spreading will increase if the supply of clean water and functioning sanitation systems are compromised, creating the need to predict and plan proper responses in advance.

  10. Acknowledge that this war will have an impact in the prevalence of mental health problems, both among those that stay in their city of origin or are displaced refugees and plan specific short and long-term responses that will require international cooperation and the support of policymakers.

  11. Support legal procedures to simplify entry visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees seeking temporary and safe asylum during the crisis, ensuring access to healthcare to everyone in need and showing a firm commitment to welcome the ones escaping war.

Hon. Ricardo Baptista Leite MP, MD

President & Founder

UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network

Member of Parliament of Portugal

Hon. Mariam Jashi MD, MPA, MPH

Chair for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network

Former Member of Parliament of Georgia

Hon. Andrew Ullmann MP, MD

Chair for Western Europe

UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network

Member of Parliament of Germany

Hon. Esther Passaris MP

Chair for Eastern and Southern Africa

UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network

Member of Parliament of Kenya

Hon. Gisela Scaglia

Chair for South America and Caribbean

UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network

Former Member of Parliament of Argentina

Hon. Pia Cayetano MP

Chair for Asia Pacific

UNITE Global Parliamentarians Network

Senator of the Philippines