Kyiv, July 2, 2018 – A shipment of serums against botulism was delivered to Ukraine. It is the second year in a row when Canadian-produced serums are provided by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Ukraine as humanitarian aid upon the request of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
In Ukraine, there is a seasonal increase in the incidence of botulism - since the beginning of 2018 there were 46 cases of botulism with 53 victims, 4 of them died. International organizations received a request to provide serums against botulism to ensure the provision of immediate treatment of botulism. UNDP quickly reacted and expressed its readiness to provide humanitarian response.
The antitoxin was sourced by UNDP within the shortest possible period. High-quality medicine manufactured in Canada were transferred to the specialized warehouse of the Ministry of Health last week.
This year the Ministry of Health of Ukraine for the first time ensured that anti-botulism serum is included to the list of centrally procured medicines. That will allow to create a stock of serums. Shipment, delivered last week, will cover the needs till the moment when serum procured through central procedure by international organizations is delivered to Ukraine. On June 30th, first serum was already provided to a patient in Kherson oblast, who was diagnosed with botulism.
Blerta Cela, UNDP Deputy Country Director commented: “This year we continued to provide support to the people and Government of Ukraine in fighting the outbreak of botulism. Thanks to the long-term partnership between the Ministry of Health in Ukraine and UNDP, serums were delivered within just a few days.”
Ministry would like to remind that prevention is the most efficient way to avoid botulism and encourages to refrain from eating food with not confirmed quality. Risk factors include consumption of dried, salted and canned fish, as it could have been contaminated under natural conditions and doesn’t undergo heat processing. Consuming should also be avoided if a person cannot be sure if the conditions of storage and transportation were appropriate.
Botulism is a food intoxication due to the consumption of products containing botulotoxins. The causative agent breeds in anaerobic state (without air) and under improper conditions of storage or transportation (canned, dried and salted fish, sausages, ham).