Lack of funds threatens children's health in C African Republic

17:35, May 22, 2010      

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A lack of funds and difficult access for aid workers are threatening the health of millions of people in conflict-plagued areas of the Central African Republic (CAR), including hundreds of thousands of children, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported on Friday.

The agency has only received 2 million U.S. dollars so far out of 12 million dollars sought for this year and if funding needs are not addressed, at least 300,000 children under five and 100, 000 pregnant women will not be able to access integrated health and nutrition packages and 150,000 children under five and 500,000 households will remain unprotected against malaria, UNICEF officials said.

A further 274,000 children in rural areas will continue to have poor access to safe drinking water, 50,000 adolescents living with HIV/AIDS and 500,000 youths at risk will not receive targeted behavior change advice on prevention, care and treatment, 100,000 orphans will not be able to access protection services and 1,000 children associated with various armed groups will not benefit from demobilization and reintegration programs, said the officials.

The most urgent funding priorities amount to 4 million U.S. dollars over the next three months, the officials said. Up to 1 million people have been affected by conflict between government forces and rebels and a spill-over of violence from neighboring countries, mostly in the CAR's northern areas bordering Sudan and Chad. These include 190,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 25,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and 5,000 refugees from Sudan.

UNICEF and its partners continue to respond to their humanitarian needs in the priority areas of health, nutrition, water and sanitation, the officials added.

Source: Xinhua


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