A funding gap is compromising the response to a measles outbreak in Lebanon, a United Nations statement said Thursday, warning it also risked allowing polio to spread from Syria.
The UN’s Children Fund, which has provided free vaccines for children in Lebanon for a quarter of a century, said the first 12 weeks of 2018 had seen a sharp increase in measles cases.
It said it was currently among several partners supporting the Lebanese health ministry’s immunisation campaign “not only for measles but also for polio in order to mitigate the risk of polio spreading from Syria.”
“If we don’t react now, more serious epidemics will hit,” Tanya Chapuisat, UNICEF’s representative in Lebanon, said.
The agency made a $5 million appeal to donors, arguing it needs to replenish vaccine stocks and reach vulnerable children in isolated areas.