GENEVA – The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have demanded urgent actions to protect children from measles and polio epidemics.
In a statement, the UN agencies warned that the focus on COVID-19 has left vulnerable kids exposed.
They estimated that $655million – $400million for polio and $255million for measles – are needed to address dangerous immunity gaps.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on health services and immunisation services worldwide.
“But unlike with COVID, we have the tools and knowledge to stop diseases such as polio and measles. What we need are the resources and commitments to put these tools and knowledge into action. If we do that, children’s lives will be saved,” he said.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, stressed that the world must not allow the fight against one deadly disease to cause losing ground in the fight against others.
Noting that addressing coronavirus is critical, Fore said other deadly diseases also threaten the lives of millions of children in poorest areas of the world.
“That is why today we are urgently calling for global action from country leaders, donors and partners.
“We need additional financial resources to safely resume vaccination campaigns and prioritise immunisation systems that are critical to protect children and avert other epidemics besides COVID-19,” he added.