Statement attributable to the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. in Sudan, Mr. Geert Cappelaere, on vaccination campaign for children in non-Government held areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile
KHARTOUM, Sudan, November 6, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan a.i., Mr. Geert Cappelaere, has expressed deep concern that children in conflict affected areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile may again be at high risk of contracting polio.
Sudan was recently declared polio free, but two new cases have emerged this week in South Sudan's Unity state, near the border with South Kordofan, increasing the risk that the virus may return to Sudan.
South Kordofan and Blue Nile states are of particular concern, as no polio vaccination programmes have been undertaken in several localities since the military conflict between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People Liberation Movement – Northern sector began in 2011.
Since April 2013, the United Nations have operational plans in place to deliver a polio vaccination campaign for 165'000 children under-five years of age in those conflict affected areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
“It is vital that every effort is made to ensure that this vaccination campaign takes place immediately and all children, no matter where they live, are safe from contracting this terrible disease. Polio is preventable with simple vaccination – vaccines are available and free” said Mr Cappelaere.
“We therefore call upon the highest authorities in the Government of Sudan and in SPLM-N as well as the entire international community to ensure that the interests of the children concerned are of primary consideration in the next round of negotiations with all parties set to be held soon in Addis Ababa. All parties should agree to a minimum of 10 days of cessation of hostilities and unconditional support to the UN operational vaccination plan. There is no longer time to lose.”