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International Peace Day commemorated in DRC with mass child survival campign

Over 600,000 children to receive measles vaccination, bed nets, Vitamin A and deworming tablets

KINSHASA , 21 September 2007 -  UNICEF and partners commemorated the International Peace Day in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by launching an integrated campaign aimed at vaccinating 730,000 children aged six months to five years old against measles.  The campaign will run from the 21 till the 25 of September throughout South Kivu province.

During the five-day campaign, over 600,000 children will also receive Vitamin A supplements, deworming tablets and insecticide treated bed nets to protect them against malaria.

In a speech to mark the occasion, Anthony Bloomberg, UNICEF Representative said, “The future of children in Congo depends on peace and investing in children now will bring that day closer."

The integrated campaign in the South Kivu province is the second of its kind in the DRC. It is being organized by the Congolese Ministry of Health with support from various bi-lateral and multilateral partners including USAID, Rotary International, WHO, the UN Foundation, and UNICEF, as well as the governments of Japan, Canada and United Kingdom.

His Excellency Dr Victor Makwege Kaput, Minister for Health co-chaired the ceremony together with Ross Mountain, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.

Speaking on behalf of the government, H.E Dr Victor Makwenge Kaput, Minister for Health thanked the partners for their continued support to DRC. He called upon parents, siblings and neighbours to send all children for vaccination stressing that vaccination is a right for all children and an obligation for parents, communities and the government.

Ross Mountain, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, stated that peace is the foundation for life and society. He commended the important work of the UN in DRC and expressed the wish that peace would prevail over the entire country, enabling women and men to dedicate themselves towards development, and progress.

The Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Nick Ray, the representative for the Ambassador of Japan, Kazuhiko Fujita and the Country Director for USAID, Stephen Haykin all reaffirmed their support for the Congolese government, the children and the ongoing integrated campaign

A similar ceremony was held in Bukavu the capital of the South Kivu province. Julien Harnies, Chief of the Field Office in the East, represented UNICEF. The Governor of the province. Celestin Cibalonza chaired the ceremony and launched the campaign in the Kadutu stadium attended by thousands of people.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact :

Anthony Bloomberg or Joyce Brandful : (++243) 81 884 6746 ; Email: Kinshasa@unicef.org





UNICEF Afghanistan Communication Officer Roshan Khadivi speaks with UNICEF Radio about the Days of Peace underway in the country, and the impact they will have on the lives of children, 1.3 of whom will now be immunized.
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