: Vaccination crisis in Ukraine: Thousands of kids left exposed to serious diseases
Society19:22 Aug. 3, 2016

Vaccination crisis in Ukraine: Thousands of kids left exposed to serious diseases

Vaccines were to be procured by Health Ministry, but institution was 'headless' at the time

Ukraine sounds the alarm. The country experiences shortages of vaccines. Only 11% of the kids received protection against serious diseases such as tuberculosis this year. Many children were left exposed to other ailments – pertussis, diphtheria.

Ulyana Suprun, Ukrainian acting Minister of Health: "Currently, there was no person in the Ministry that is responsible for state procurements."

Suprun was recently appointed acting chief of Ukrainian Health Ministry. She said the situation in the institution was terrible when she came. Ukraine didn't have a Minister of Health for more than a month. And the staff that was supposed to be responsible for procurement of vaccines were on paid leave.

Watch also Elusive reforms push Ukraine health system to brink of collapse

Suprun said the current state of affairs was threatening national security. So she had no choice but reach out to the President.

Ulyana Suprun, Ukrainian acting Minister of Health: "Mr. President, we are asking you to hold a meeting of the National Defense and Security council and look into the problems. It is crucial to solve the issues that exist in Ukraine."

The absence of vaccination in Ukraine is nothing new. Last year a couple caught botulism during their wedding. The man died shortly after. His wife managed to recover, but after long searches for the needed vaccination.

The reasons these difficulties exist are a lack of funding and ocсasional anti-vaccination campaigns. Kyiv pediatric immunologist Fedir Lapiy says parents should be held responsible for depriving their kids of protection. Same goes for medics, that sometimes talk the parents out of vaccinating their children.

Fedir Lapiy, Kyiv pediatric immunologist: "If a doctor did it in the West, his competency would be questioned. But in Ukraine, it's not the case."

Recently a little girl narrowly escaped death in Dnipro city. The medics said her health condition was still difficult. The girl wasn't provided vaccination against stupor because her mother refused to go through with the procedure.

Medics call on all parents to allow their kids to be vaccinated. Their lives depend on it.

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