UNICEF, Syria agree on urgency of reaching more war-affected children

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A student receives a measles/mumps/rubella vaccination at a school in Damascus.© UNICEF Syrian Arab Republic/2013/Rashidi

There's agreement between UNICEF and senior Syrian officials on the importance of reaching hundreds of thousands of children in some of the worst-affected parts of the war-torn country with life saving vaccines, including those against polio.

UNICEF's Executive Director Anthony Lake wrapped up a two-day visit to Damascus focusing on the need to immunize every child quickly and without obstacle.

He stressed that “Immunizing children is in its very nature non-political and has no connection to any military considerations,” adding, “With cases of polio now emerging in Syria for the first time since 1999, reaching every child with polio and other vaccinations is not only an urgent and critical priority for Syria but for the whole world.”

The UNICEF chief also met with frontline volunteers from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and expressed on behalf of UNICEF, his admiration for all the work these volunteers are doing, their courage, and the sacrifices they have made in this cause.

UNICEF will be working with SARC, national and other partners to reach the 500,000 and more children who have not been reached with vaccinations due to the conflict in some of the hardest to reach parts of the country.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’07″

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