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From 28 to 29 October 2013, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake visited Syria, where a Government-led immunization campaign is under way following emerging reports of polio cases. Mr. Lake met with Syrian Prime Minister Wael Al Halqi and other senior government officials to discuss the urgent need to vaccinate children against polio and other diseases, especially in conflict-affected areas. Polio, last identified in the country in 1999, is highly infectious and can easily spread, particularly in times of conflict and displacement. The escalating conflict, now well into its third year, has affected 6.8 million people, including more than 3.1 million children. Over 2 million Syrians – half of them children – have also fled to Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Some 4.25 million people, including 1.95 million children, have also been displaced. Many of them are living in crowded and unsanitary conditions where disease can easily spread. Across the Syria Arab Republic, access to communities in need remains severely limited as the crisis worsens. Continued fighting and insecurity have also significantly affected the health system, including routine immunization programmes. The campaign, which began on 28 October, targets some 500,000 children, including those in hard-to-reach and other areas, who have not been vaccinated due to the conflict. Children under age 5 are also receiving vitamin A to help boost their immunity. Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines are also being administered during the campaign. UNICEF requires a total of US $110 million to support its work within the Syria Arab Republic through December 2013.

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Share and raise awareness on #ChildrenofSyria
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