6 Nov 2014
A child receives the polio vaccine from a vaccination team in the Al Salam IDP camp, North Darfur, Sudan. UN Photo/Olivier Chassot
Children in conflict areas in Sudan that are not under government control may be at high risk of contracting polio, according to a senior UN humanitarian official in the country.
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in South Sudan, Geert Capealaere said he is deeply concerned about children in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
Polio vaccinations have not been administered in several localities in these states since military confrontations began in 2011.
The United Nations has had operational plan in place since April 2013 to vaccinate 165,000 children under five years of age against the crippling disease in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Sudan was recently declared polio free, but two new cases were reported this week in South Sudan’s Unity State increasing the risk of the virus may return to its northern neighbour.
Mr Cappelaere is calling on the warring parties in Sudan to agree to a minimum of 10 days of cessation of hostilities and unconditional support to the UN vaccination plan.
Stephanie Castro, United Nations