Sudan, UNICEF launch polio campaign

The Sudanese Government in collaboration with UNICEF and other partners have launched a nationwide polio campaign with vitamin A supplementation.

The campaign is targeting four million children under the age of five, in one hundred and twenty three localities in fifteen high risk states across the country including the Darfurs.

In a press statement, UNICEF said that it is concerned that hundreds of thousands would be left out, because of the insecurity in South Kordufan.

UNICEF also expressed its concern that some two hundred thousand children in the conflict affected Jebel Marra, South Kordofan, Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile are again at risk of missing out on another lifesaving intervention, some for almost five years.

UNICEF Representative, Geert Cappelaere, stressed that this has to stop, adding that against this backdrop UNICEF has facilitated the procurement of four point five million doses of t-OPV and is supporting the Ministry of Health with door-to-door vaccination, complemented by social mobilisation campaigns across the relevant states.

He said UNICEF welcomed the continued leadership of and investment in the health sector by the government. Cappelaere noted that Sudan has been polio free since 2009 and on track to achieve the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

However, he said the evidence of polio virus circulation in several neighbouring countries puts Sudan at high risk.

The representative said for the sake of the children, it again called on all concerned to seek an end to the conflict and ensure unconditional humanitarian access to all conflict affected areas especially in the Jebel Marra, South Kordufan, and Blue Nile. Cappelaere said the second phase is scheduled for September.

NAN/Hauwa Mustapha