CF “Patients of Ukraine” demand from the President of Ukraine to immediately convene an extraordinary meeting of the NSDC to respond to the polio outbreak in Transcarpathia. This is stated in an open letter to Petro Poroshenko, sent by activists to the President. With this letter they demand to oblige the Ministry of Health to sign within a week agreements with international organizations, in particular UNICEF, for procurement of vaccines and urgently assemble a working group under the NSDC to respond to possible outbreak of polio in the state.
“Even in such African countries as Somalia, Chad and Nigeria this disease has been defeated , while in Ukraine, in the center of Europe, there is an outbreak, – says Dmytro Sherembey, the Head of the Board of the CF “Patients of Ukraine”. – We cannot allow our country to be isolated from the world and children to be disabled. That’s why we called on the President of Ukraine to urgently resolve this matter, and for the first time in Ukraine’s history honestly allocate money from the state budget for the vaccination of all children.”
It should be noted that each year vaccination programs face catastrophic state funding shortages. This is a violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed by Ukraine in 1991. This raises serious doubts about Ukraine’s accession to the European Union where the disease is considered to be overcome.
In their appeal, except for allocation in 2016 sufficient funds to cover 100% of Ukraine’s population with vaccination programs against all diseases according to the Calendar of preventive vaccinations in Ukraine, patients demand to develop the basic principles of the state policy in the field of preventive vaccination with the participation of leading national and international experts and start large-scale information campaign on creating a positive image for vaccination programs and motivating Ukrainian parents to immunize their children.
The letter states that one of the reasons of the outbreak was the failure of public medicines procurement in 2014-2015. “The Ministry of Health officials shall be called to account for every mutilated life, – says Olga Stefanyshyna, the Executive Director of the CF “Patients of Ukraine”. – The Prosecutor General’s Office has opened criminal proceedings against former officials of the Ministry of Health, who failed public procurements last year, and we will appeal to the prosecutor’s office demanding to speed up the investigation and take into account the evidence of affected children.”
It is to be recalled that the Ministry of Health initiated the establishment of the Emergency Operations Centre for poliomyelitis respond and spread counteraction and the delivery of humanitarian aid. Besides, the Chairman of the Health Care Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Olga Bogomolets made a statement on setting up the corresponding working group under the National Security and Defense Council. Shortly before, the WHO confirmed polio outbreak in Ukraine. In Transcarpathia two cases of polio in a child of four years and one aged 10 months have been confirmed. Both children were not vaccinated.