Polio Vaccination in Soudan: Security Council Press Statement
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Agshin Mehdiyev ( Azerbaijan):
On 10 October, the United Nations Security Council was briefed by the Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Hervé Ladsous, and United Nations Interim Security Force in Abyei Force Commander, Major General Yohannes Tesfamariam, on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan.
The members of the Security Council expressed alarm and grave concern at the imminent threat of the spread of polio through South Kordofan, and the continuing outbreak of polio in the Horn of Africa. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, this threat affects more than 165,000 children in South Kordofan and Blue Nile due to a lack of immunization in the border area in more than two years. Failure to vaccinate exacerbates the risk of the further spread of the disease which the international community has made great strides to eliminate.
The members of the Security Council called upon the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to urgently resolve differences over the technical plans necessary, including for safe passage, to implement the polio vaccination campaign, as proposed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization, as soon as possible in order for the two-week vaccination campaign to go forward in South Kordofan and Blue Nile on 5 November as planned. The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the United Nations’ work in this regard and encouraged the Secretary-General to engage with both sides to ensure full vaccination in the coming weeks.