U.N., Fearing a Polio Epidemic in Syria, Moves to Vaccinate Millions of Children

Another cost of the Syrian civil war:

<blockquote>Officials said that the discovery a few weeks ago of a cluster of paralyzed young children in Deir al-Zour, a heavily contested city in eastern Syria, had prompted their alarm.

The possibility of a polio epidemic in Syria, where the once-vaunted public health system has collapsed after 31 months of political upheaval and war, came as the United Nations is increasingly struggling with the problem of how to deliver basic emergency aid to millions of deprived civilians there. </block quote>

Via NYT http://nyti.ms/17OJxA0


8 thoughts on “U.N., Fearing a Polio Epidemic in Syria, Moves to Vaccinate Millions of Children”

  1. This article is unsettling. This may not be something I want to confess but I often forget that the United Nations deals with important issues other than nuclear proliferation and world wars. There is a lot of critique against the UN, but I am curious as to who would have stepped up in this effort if countries were not brought together to discuss what they feel is necessary. The last thing Syria needs with all of it’s political turmoil is to have a health crisis that could paralyze thousands of children and adults and continue to spread. I find it interesting that they are no allowing the cargo vans in to the cities to help, when both sides oft eh conflict have openly acknowledged that this is something no one wants. It would make sense for them to allow aid, when it is not hindering their efforts. I suppose rational decisions are hard to make when you are in that state of war.

  2. I admire those who are taking the initiative to get those children vaccinated. As stated in the article, it is dangerous for UN affiliates to go into the war-zone, but many are willing and that shows courage. It is scary what could happen to so many weak/young individuals in such a short-time. The time to act and get the vaccination out to those children is now. If the UN can disarm chemical weapons then they should be able to help the children.

  3. In all honesty, I wasn’t fully aware of the situation within Syrian borders until reading an issue of the NYT from last week. The Syrian refugees have fallen under the spotlight, while much of the population still within the country is suffering massively from hunger and sickness. This small but ominous outbreak is indicative of how Syrian infrastructure has just crumbled. kttoolson makes an excellent point–the UN helps address several issues that otherwise would go unattended. But frankly my sympathies just go out to the people of Syria, and the suffering they have had to endure because of this conflict.

  4. Unfortunately polio is still a reality in some places. With the crisis in Syria, health was probably not of one of the country’s priorities. And without prevention children become the target of diseases such a polio. A vaccination campaign is definitely needed, specially in such delicate moment. It is great that the World Health Organization along with the UN are taking the necessary actions to end this problem.

  5. It is incredibly unfortunate that a country that is already riddled with problems now has a polio epidemic. What makes this situation even more unfortunate is the fact that it is so difficult to help the Syrian refugees who are struggling with disease and hunger. Polio is a disease that is also so easily curable so it is unfortunate that children are contracting polio because of lack of health care. I hope their can be some way aid can get to refugees without workers being harmed in the process of distributing medical aid.

  6. I always question my own opposition to military intervention in ending this civil war, when I’m reminded of the innocent people being affected. It’s amazing how this can be ignored and forgotten. It’s also a shame that this kind of aid is needed. Money for vaccinations could be better spend on giving the people food. People living in horrible conditions leads to sickness and it causes so many other problems such as people not being able to make something better for themselves.

  7. What bothers me the most about this article is both side’s general indifference to the Syrian people, and in this case, children. The fact that the government and the rebels are ignoring the Security Council’s direction that humanitarian workers should be able work anywhere there is need is just crazy. Many of them fear for their lives when they try to help the Syrians. From what I’ve seen, neither side appears to be interested in the welfare or freedom of the people. Its all about power, and any civility that was there before is lost. And if Assad is deposed, anyone with civility that would be looking to take over will be crushed. That is why I would be shocked to see this civil war end any time soon.

  8. It is disheartening to hear that amidst the brutal civil war, a polio epidemic has the potential to breakout. Because of the political instability, many live in refugee camps, in which often breeds human rights violations, sickness and disease. Hopefully, the UN intervention will be preemptive enough to save many children’s lives. This article goes to show that war is devastating on multiple levels and this internal crisis needs to be solved by its people.

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