Polio can lead to irreversible paralysis and mostly affects children under the age of five years. The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed in late August 2015 that two Ukrainian children had been crippled by the polio virus in the crisis-torn nation's southwestern Zakarpattya region.
International relief groups condemned the Ukrainian authorities in early October 2015 for having done nothing since then to prevent the dangerous situation from spiraling out of control.
AdvertisementFollowing this criticism, Ukraine has reported the start of a polio vaccination drive.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said, "Ukrainian children have not been vaccinated against polio since 2008, a failure that could lead to outbreaks outside the EU-bordering former Soviet state."
Ukraine's health ministry said, "The nationwide vaccination campaign has finally begun. 3.7 million oral polio vaccines have been procured for the cash-strapped country with the help of funding from Canada, a Kiev ally with one of the world's largest Ukrainian diasporas."
The World Health Organization's Ukraine representative Dorit Nitzan said, "I congratulate the minister and the ministry of health for their leadership and for starting the vaccination campaign."