Instrumental Access 2019:
Ivan Horbachevsky Ternopil State Medical University
Department of Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology, Dermatology & Venereology
In Ukraine, building infrastructure to fight Lyme disease
Meet our Awardee
Ivan Horbachevsky Ternopil State Medical University is one of Ukraine's top medical schools.
Located in Western Ukraine, the university trains doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals. Courses are taught in Ukranian, Russian and English, and diplomas are recognized by the WHO, the US Department of Education, and throughout the European Union.
The Department of Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology, Dermatology & Venereology supervises coursework in epidemiology and infectious diseases.
The department's current research focuses on Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
"Modern equipment will allow us to increase the scientific level of research and reach the international level. We hope that our experience, reflected in international publications, will be useful to other countries."
Fighting the Spread of Lyme Disease in Ukraine: Dr. Mariia Shkilna
In Ukraine, Lyme disease is emerging as a major threat to public health. Cases of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are believed to have increased by a factor of 60 over the past two decades, but the epidemic is not well understood.
Мariia Shkilna, MD, PhD, an associate professor at Ivan Horbachevsky Ternopil State Medical University, is looking for answers.
In collaboration with two groups of researchers from neighboring Poland, where a sharp increase of Lyme disease has also been observed, Dr. Shkilna is spearheading an effort to understand how tick-borne diseases are spreading in the region—and how to stop them.
Because they are at particularly high risk, the first priority was to study forestry workers. Shockingly, around half of the Ukrainian forestry workers tested positive for Lyme disease. In comparison, 2-17% have tested positive in other European countries where this population has been studied.
"Given the large number of the foresters infected with Lyme disease, we are working to have it recognized as an official occupational disease," says Dr. Shkilna. "This will allow the foresters to receive free means of tick protection, as well as free screening, treatment and rehabilitation."
With equipment from Instrumental Access, Dr. Shkilna hopes to expand the project to other groups that are at particularly high risk because of where they work, including farmers and military personnel.
Other goals include working with the regional government to step up tick control measures in popular recreational areas, and offering free Lyme disease testing to the public.
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About Instrumental Access
To begin, we identify a pipeline of scientific talent. Then we rigorously screen universities and select those with the most potential to advance education and research through Instrumental Access.