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Sudan: UNICEF Regional Director calls for greater investment in basic services for children

JUBA, February 11, 2010 – At the end of a mission to Sudan, UNICEF's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Sigrid Kaag emphasised the need to consolidate development gains attained and to ensure accelerated progress to benefit the children and women of the country.

“Currently, Sudan is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and greater investments in basic social services and capacity building are essential to accelerate sustainable progress,” said Ms. Kaag.

Following a day of meetings with officials in Khartoum, Ms. Kaag traveled to the southern states of Western Bhar el Ghazal and Western Equatoria before concluding her visit in the southern capital of Juba.

“I received excellent briefings by senior government officials at each stage of my visit. There is also strong commitment and leadership at state and community levels to address the significant challenges in the fields of education, health, water and sanitation as well as protection.”

In Warrap State, food supplies are critically short. Community members listed access to water for humans and their livestock as a priority, emphasising that this would also help reduce tensions with neighbouring communities in an area that has experienced two consecutive years of failed rains.

In Western Equatoria State, thousands have been displaced and agricultural activity curtailed due to continuous attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). There was a strong call for more concerted action to end the atrocities perpetrated against children and women.

On the final day of her visit, Ms Kaag met with senior ministers of the Government of Southern Sudan. Officials appealed for additional assistance to drastically reduce the high rates of maternal and child mortality.

UNICEF continues to deliver vital services for children and women in Sudan. The first phase of an Accelerated Child Survival and Development Initiative was launched in Eastern Equatoria, delivering a package of life-saving health activities, including vaccinations, distribution of bed nets, vitamin A supplementation and health promotion in the heart of local communities. The programme has since been replicated in several other states.

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 more information, please contact:
Amber Henshaw, Media & External Relations UNICEF Sudan,
Mobile + 249 (0)912 177 291,
Email: ahenshaw@unicef.org

Douglas Armour, Communications & Advocacy Manager UNICEF Southern Sudan Area programme, Juba
Mobile + 256 (0) 477 256 717, + (249) (0) 913 143 481,
Email: darmour@unicef.org

Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, UNICEF Regional Office in the Middle East and North Africa,
Tel + 962-79-700-4567,
E-mail: arghandour@unicef.org 




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