Friday, May 16, 2003

UN Appeals for Funds to Fight Polio in Somalia, Sudan
NAIROBI, 17 MAY 2003 -- Two UN agencies appealed for 275 million dollars to wind up vaccinations against polio in Somalia and Sudan, warning of a disaster if a cash shortfall persisted. AFP quoted the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as having said in a joint statement that they require "substantial external financial resources" to fill "a 275 million dollar gap to finish the (immunization) job by 2005."

"A lapse in funding for Somalia and Sudan would not only jeopardize the goal of stopping polio transmission, but could allow the virus to spread to other regions," the statement said.

"If the initiative falters now in Somalia and Sudan, the consequences would be disastrous," it warned.

UNICEF and WHO said early this year, lack of enough cash had scaled back the polio eradication operation. The war against polio, which hits children, in Somalia and Sudan started in 1997 and 1993 respectively.

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