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Joint WHO – UNICEF statement regarding deaths of children in Idlib, northern Syria

2014-09-18

Amman/Cairo, 17 September 2014: “UNICEF and WHO have been shocked and saddened to learn of the deaths of at least 15 young children in Idlib, Syria. The deaths of the children occurred in areas where a measles immunization campaign had been under way.

Establishing the precise cause of the children’s deaths is vital. To that end, the WHO has deployed a team of experts to provide assistance to those carrying out the investigation in Idlib who will report back as soon as possible. WHO is also providing advice and protocols for the investigation of adverse events following immunization.

For as long as the facts remain unclear, the suspension of the immunization campaign in both Idlib and Deir Ezzour provinces is a wise step.

However, it is vital that immunization efforts against measles – a disease which is a leading killer of children worldwide – resume as soon as possible.

Measles is a particular threat to children who have been displaced from their homes and communities, and who are living in camps or other insanitary conditions.”

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For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
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