Ukraine At Risk for Epidemics

Here is a very worrisome piece about the danger of polio, and other, epidemics ravaging Ukraine, as that nation descends into Third World status.

The risk arises from low level of vaccination of children.  Once vaccination of a population dips below a certain percentage level, then risk arises of epidemic.  Already there have been a couple of cases of polio infections in children:  Two separate children, who lived in separate towns (in Trans-Carpathia) and had not come into contact with one another.  The situation was confused by the fact that both children were infected by a “mutated” polio virus, and possibly would not have been helped by the actual vaccine in any case.  This confusion was seized upon by medievalist anti-vaccination forces.  But the fact remains that an unvaccinated population of children is at risk for an epidemic of paralysis and suffering that could be prevented by techniques already well known to mankind.

According to Ukrainian pediatrician Evgeny Komarovsky, only 14.1% of Ukrainian children below the age of one, have been vaccinated against polio.  (The world standard is for infants to be dosed at 2 months, again at 4 months, again at 6-18 months, and a booster between the ages of 4-6.)

One reason for Ukraine’s public health problem is political:  The tendentiously ideologically motivated government’s refusal to purchase the standard vaccines from Russia, its previous supplier; now considered an enemy state.  However, the current government cannot be blamed for everything:  according to experts, this situation has been brewing at least since 2008, with a series of incompetent and corrupt governments not having a reliable method of purchasing vaccines or concocting appropriate anti-virus.

The article goes on to detail a sordid history of corruption in the arena of medicines and pharmaceuticals.

The situation worsened after the Maidan coup, with dogmatic politics added to the usual corruption.  The Ukrainian Ministry of Health is headed by a Gruzian national, Alexander Kvitashvili, who has refused to purchase any Russian vaccines or medications, notwithstanding the fact, that the entire structure (calendar) of Ukrainian vaccinations was based on Russian products.

For example, the vaccine against tuberculosis (Bacillus Calmette, prepared from a strain of the attenuated live bovine tuberculosis bacillus)  was, according to the previous calendar, supposed to be administered to newborns (in maternity wards) on the third to fifth day of life.  However, this past May, it was reported by Fedor Lapiy, Chief Children’s Immunologist of Kiev, that the vaccine cannot be found any more, even in the capital.  Only 100,000 doses had been purchased last year, in a nation which needs at least 1,200,000 doses.

Ukraine is now second place in Europe for percentage cases of tuberculosis.

[yalensis:  I am not sure, but I believe that either either Spain or Portugal is #1  Tuberculosis is a deadly and dreadful disease which was all but wiped out in the former Soviet Union.  A disease which has no business even being around in the world any more.]

According to former Children’s Rights Ombudsman and current People’s Deputy Yury Pavlenko:  In their haste to cut off all ties with Russia, the Ukrainian government has also opened up the country to the risk of tetanus.  For which the only viable anti-toxin for the Ukrainian market is also produced in — guess where?  — Russia.

Now, without the toxin, many hospital patients are at risk.  Patients who show up in the ER complaining of animal bites, are told to wash the wound out with warm water and soap.

[yalensis:  Which is good advice, but a tetanus shot would also be nice.  One can only hope that the forces of reason will prevail in the end.]

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