Public Health Fakes: The USA supplies the Armed Forces of Ukraine with a drug for the preservation of donor organs. Issue 105

Public Health Fakes: The USA supplies the Armed Forces of Ukraine with a drug for the preservation of donor organs. Issue #105

Photo: / insung yoon
13 March 2024

In this issue, we debunk yet another invention by Russians about “black transplantology” in the Ukrainian army. So, propagandists have spread a fake that the USA is supplying the Armed Forces of Ukraine in large quantities with the drug “Nalbuphine” for the preservation of donor organs. Allegedly, this drug is capable of “preserving” organs inside the human body. Additionally, we refute information suggesting that in Ukraine, children have started to fall ill with epidemic mumps en masse, and the authors of the post attributed the causes of the disease to “lack of vaccinations and destruction of medicine.”

With the support of the USAID Health Reform Support project, VoxCheck analyzes and refutes public health narratives spread in the information space of Ukraine, Belarus, and russia on a weekly basis.

Disinformation:  The USA supplies the Armed Forces of Ukraine with a drug in large quantities for the preservation of donor organs

Information is being spread online claiming that the USA is supplying the Armed Forces of Ukraine with “Nalbuphine” in large quantities. The authors of this “news” allege that the substance is being used to extend the “storage period” of organs for their further transportation and sale on the black market. Ukrainian military personnel are being injected with the drug, after which the substance “preserves organs that can then be extracted.” Moreover, the drug is referred to as a relatively new analgesic, and its side effects are still being studied.

What’s the reality?

Nalbuphine” is an analgesic medication used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It can be used as an adjunct to anesthesia, to reduce pain in the pre- and post-operative periods, and as pain relief during childbirth. The drug is not new; it was approved in the USA in 1979. And in Ukraine, it has been available in the first aid kits of the Ukrainian military since 2014.

However, we have not found evidence to confirm that the drug “preserves” organs inside or outside the human body. Moreover, it is unclear what propagandists mean by “preserving” organs inside the human body and why they would need to be preserved inside a person at all. In Ukraine, organ transplantation surgeries are performed after brain death is confirmed (in the case of post-mortem donation). In this case, the heart continues to function and support the vitality of the organs, so “preservation” is not necessary.

In reality, for longer preservation outside the human body, the organ is flushed with a special solution at a temperature ranging from 0 to 4°C. After that, the organ is immersed in this solution and placed in special thermal containers. The components of the solution vary slightly depending on the organ being transported. However, the compound used for organ transportation does not include components of “Nalbuphine.”

We have repeatedly explained why the concept of the existence of black transplantologists who “harvest” organs from military personnel is fake. According to Ukrainian law, buying and selling organs is prohibited in Ukraine. It is also unclear how the scheme of buying and selling organs on the black market would work. Even if a potential buyer is found, they must have biological indicators similar to those of the donor. Furthermore, the transplantation operation requires the involvement of a large number of doctors. It is impossible to transplant a “purchased organ” in any hospital due to the existence of a unified state transplantation information system. This system contains the personal data of the patient who needs the organ transplant, and it matches donor-recipient pairs from the available database. If a person dies due to combat actions, their organs will not be transplanted because it is prohibited by law.

Also, the information about the activities of “black transplantologists” in Sievierodonetsk does not correspond to reality, and all the evidence presented in the propaganda video is fabricated. We thoroughly debunked this fake in the previous issue.

Disinformation: Children in Ukraine have started to fall ill with mumps on a mass scale

Referring to an article in a Ukrainian media outlet, Kremlin-backed Telegram channels write that children in Ukraine have started to fall ill with epidemic mumps. A case of such infection among children has been recorded in the Rivne region. Doctors supposedly attribute the spread of the disease to the absence of vaccinations and the actual destruction of healthcare.

Screenshot of the post

What’s the reality?

Russians once again speculate on the topic of diseases and attempt to discredit the healthcare system in Ukraine.

In February 2024, a case of a child falling ill with epidemic mumps was indeed registered in the town of Zarichne in the Rivne region. However, the article mentions only one case, and there is no actual “mass occurrence.” Additionally, we have not found any recent reports of children being infected with mumps in other regions of Ukraine. Throughout 2023, 14 cases of epidemic mumps among school-aged children and a 19-year-old boy were recorded inthe Rivne region. Meanwhile, a total of 529 people were affected by epidemic mumps in Ukraine last year.

Epidemic mumps is an acute infectious disease most commonly affecting children aged 3–7 years. The disease is transmitted through airborne droplets, and among the symptoms, fever, weakness, swelling of the salivary glands, muscle pain, etc., are noted. The best prevention against epidemic mumps is vaccination.

According to the immunization schedule, vaccination against mumps is administered to a child twice in their lifetime — at 12 months and at 6 years. If a child has not been vaccinated in a timely manner, the immunization course should be started from the beginning, and any missed vaccinations should be caught up.

Furthermore, the claims made by Russians about the absence of vaccination for children in Ukraine are untrue. As of the end of December 2023, over 92% of children aged one year had received vaccination against measles, epidemic mumps, and rubella, and more than 87% of children aged 6 years had been vaccinated.

Source: Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine

Furthermore, Ukraine has an adequate supply of vaccines for immunization against various diseases. According to the Public Health Center, as of February 1, 2024, there are over 180,000 doses of combined vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella available in Ukraine. Therefore, all claims made by Russians are nothing but part of the overall Kremlin’s discrediting campaign.

This information piece was produced with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provided on behalf of the people of the United States of America. This article’s content, which does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, is the sole responsibility of Deloitte Consulting under contract #72012118C00001.



The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations