Of particular concern is how political and economic pressures will impact important health, education and social services. Geopolitical changes and military operations in Crimea have already displaced nearly 3,000 people, most of them ethnic Tartars who have sought refuge in western and central parts of the country. While they are reportedly well accommodated in these areas, UNICEF has found that many children are not immunized and hygiene conditions are inadequate.
In response, UNICEF has started distributing hygiene kits and has teamed up with the World Health Organization to promote vaccinations. Because the displaced children are out of school, UNICEF is also helping to arrange for psychosocial support in the form of educational and recreational activities. Meanwhile, UNICEF continues to work with local partners to ensure that certain important services continue, particularly treatment for children with HIV. One bit of encouraging news: Ukraine's Minister of Health recently confirmed that funding for its National AIDS and TB programs would remain intact. Nevertheless, plans appear to be moving forward to cut health, education and social protection spending by almost one-third and to dismiss 12,000 social workers.