17:08 May. 6, 2016
Experts say polio transmission in Ukraine interrupted due to the efforts of Health Ministry
Poliomyelitis transmission in Ukraine is interrupted, but efforts must continue to protect children, the World Health Organization said after a team of technical experts assessed Ukraine's response to a polio outbreak.
"Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Health, health workers and parents, many more children are vaccinated against polio, and I commend them for their commitment," said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
"But these efforts do not stop now. The immunization gap persists and, if Ukraine does not continue vaccinating its children, this gap will expand for polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases to strike," she added.
WHO says Ukraine is a key country in polio eradication because its outbreak threatened the European Region's polio-free status. The European Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication will decide at its next meeting, in June 2016, whether the Region retains this status.
In September 2015 Ukraine's Minister of Health announced that polio had been identified as the cause of paralysis in 2 children, aged 10 months and 4 years, who live in Zakarpattia region western Ukraine. The country conducted three rounds of supplemental immunization to protect the children of Ukraine against the disease.
However the vaccination campaign was accompanied by a number of scandals, including the uncertainty over the quality of vaccine.