UN to launch Somalia anti-polio drive

The UN children's agency has said it will launch a nationwide anti-polio drive in Somalia.

    Outbreaks in Yemen and Ethiopia have paralysed 430 children

    Unicef will begin the vaccination campaign in the self-declared autonomous northeastern region of Puntland on Friday.

      
    The programme, intended to inoculate millions of Somali children against polio, will start in the breakaway state of Somaliland in the northwest on Saturday and in central Somalia on 24 June, it said. 
      
    Neighbouring outbreaks

    "The outbreaks of polio in Ethiopia and Yemen, coupled with large population movements between Somalia and its neighbours, have put Somali children at risk of polio," Unicef said in a statement.
      
    Outbreaks in neighbouring Ethiopia and Yemen have already paralysed 230 children and infected as many as 40,000 and threaten a resurgence of the disease in Somalia which has been polio free since 2002, it said. 

    "Outbreaks of polio in Ethiopia and Yemen, coupled with large population movements...have put Somali children at risk"

    Unicef statement

    "It is crucial that all efforts are made to ensure that the polio virus is not allowed to reverse the gains made so far in Somalia," Unicef said, noting that the anarchic country has no health infrastructure to deal with infections.
      
    WHO campaign

    The programme in Somalia is part of a broader UN effort to stem the spread of polio across Africa.
      
    The resurgence of polio, blamed on a suspension of vaccinations in Nigeria for ideological reasons, has adversely affected a UN programme to eliminate the disease worldwide by the end of 2005.
      
    Somalia, a nation of about 10 million people, has been torn apart by factional warfare since the overthrow in 1991 of strongman Mohammed Siad Barre.

    &n

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.