Lack of funds threatens children’s health in Central African Republic – UN

A girl waits to be immunized at a health centre in Bossangoa, Central African Republic.

21 May 2010 – 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, including hundreds of thousands of children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported today.

The agency has only received $2 million so far out of $12 million 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 spokesperson Christiane Berthiaume told a news briefing in Geneva.

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 behaviour 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 programmes, she added.

The most urgent funding priorities amount to $4 million over the next three months. Up to 1 million people have been affected by conflict between Government forces and rebels and a spill-over of violence from neighbouring countries, mostly in 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, Ms. Berthiaume said.

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