UNICEF Chief Starts Anti-Polio Drive in Sudan
The UN Children's Fund executive director Carol Bellamy helped launch a nationwide campaign Saturday to immunize 5.3 million Sudanese children against polio, UNICEF officials said.
First visiting the capital's Hag Yousuf suburb before travelling Sunday to southern Sudan, Bellamy was taking part in the Sudanese leg of a worldwide drive to eradicate polio.
The UNICEF office here told AFP that, besides the immunization launch for children under five, Bellamy discussed issues affecting women and children with Health Minister Abul Gassim Mohamed Ibrahim and other officials.
Bellamy was to fly Sunday to southern Sudan where she would visit government-held Malakal town and then rebel-held Rumbek town to take part in the anti-polio drive.
The campaign was launched jointly by the UN children's body and the Sudanese Ministry of Health.
The foreign ministry announced Khartoum would observe a temporary 12-day ceasefire that would last until October 27 in response to a request by UNICEF to help immunize children in conflict zones.
Hoping that the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) would do likewise, the foreign ministry said in a statement Friday that the Sudanese government would respect the calm "unless the other party exploits it for military purposes." – KHARTOUM (AFP)
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