UNICEF welcomes Ukraine’s plan to stop polio outbreak

 13 Jan 2022 (Originally published by UNICEF on 5 Jan 2022) 

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Ukraine has welcomed the adoption of a national plan which aims to halt recent polio outbreak in the country. 

Signed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Ukraine on 30 December 2021, the plan signifies the government’s commitment to protecting Ukrainian children from polio and eradicating poliovirus in Ukraine and beyond, in cooperation with all partners.

Due to low routine immunization rates, polio returned to Ukraine in 2021. Polio is a debilitating disease that can cause life-long paralysis and even death. With 20 cases already confirmed in the Rivne and Zakarpattia regions, polio now poses a serious threat to every child in Ukraine. Unvaccinated children under the age of six are at the highest risk. 

“Polio anywhere is a threat to children everywhere. Vaccination is the only effective way to protect every child and stop the outbreak,” said Murat Sahih, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. “Polio vaccines are safe, effective and have already saved hundreds of thousands of children worldwide. I call upon all Ukrainian parents to get their children vaccinated according to the national immunization calendar as soon as possible.”

Partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, including UNICEF, are making every effort to end polio worldwide so that no child will ever be crippled by this deadly disease. 

In Ukraine, UNICEF will be working with the government every step of the way to ensure the effective implementation of the recently adopted polio response plan, especially in the areas of vaccine management and social and behavioral change. The shared goal is to ensure that every child has a life free from polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases.


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