Damascus 29 October 2013 – Following ‘businesslike and encouraging’ discussions, senior Syrian officials and the UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake agreed on the importance of reaching hundreds of thousands of children in some of the worst-affected parts of war-torn Syria with life saving vaccine including those against polio as Mr Lake ended a two day visit to Damascus.
The need to immunize every child quickly and without obstacle was a key focus of Mr. Lake’s discussions with Syrian Prime Minister Wael Al Halqi, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Faisal Miqdad and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Hosam Eddin A’ala.
“Immunizing children is in its very nature non-political and has no connection to any military considerations,” said Mr. Lake. “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.”
In a meeting with frontline volunteers from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) Mr. Lake expressed on behalf of UNICEF his admiration for all the work SARC volunteers are doing, their courage, and the sacrifices they have made in this cause.
With SARC and with national and other partners UNICEF will be working 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.
For more information:
Edward Carwardine, UNICEF New York, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mob: +1 917 310 8969
Juliette Touma, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, email@example.com, Mob: +962 79 867 4628
Sarah Crowe, UNICEF New York, firstname.lastname@example.org Mob: +1-646-209-1590