WHO delivers tetanus toxoid vaccine to Ukraine


From left: Dr Dorit Nitzan, WHO Representative to Ukraine; Dr Olga Bogomolets, Advisor to the President; and Dr Vasyl Lasoryshynets, Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine, explain the importance of a shipment of tetanus toxoid vaccine

On 26 September 2014, WHO delivered a second tranche of medicine to Kyiv. The shipment included 300 000 doses of tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccine, which will cover Ukraine’s needs until the end of 2015. As of 25 September, there were over 8332 wounded in Ukraine, according to WHO and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“This shipment will address critical vaccination needs for the wounded, in addition to everyday needs of both children and adults,” said Dr Dorit Nitzan, WHO Representative to Ukraine. “Not only has the conflict in the east increased the demand for the vaccine but, until this shipment arrived, the country was virtually without TT vaccine supplies.”

Many people have been injured as a result of the crisis in the Donbas region. Open injuries have a potential for serious bacterial infections, including gas gangrene and tetanus; these in turn may lead to long-term disabilities, chronic wound or bone infection and death. Wound infection is of particular concern when injured patients do not receive immediate care or when large numbers of injured survivors exceed the available capacity for trauma care.

Moreover, in emergencies affecting populations in which TT immunization levels are already low, as in Ukraine, special attention should also be paid to preventing maternal and neonatal tetanus by immunizing women of childbearing age and by improving the hygienic conditions in which women give birth.