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Côte d'Ivoire, with least-funded appeal for aid, finds 12 new cases of polio

Côte d'Ivoire, with least-funded appeal for aid, finds 12 new cases of polio

A dozen confirmed cases of polio have turned up in less than a year in Côte d'Ivoire, a West African country where the disease was thought to have been eradicated, the United Nations humanitarian coordination office said today.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reminded prospective donors that only 6 per cent of the $14.3 million needed for emergency health programmes has come in.

"The latest cases have all been confirmed in the northern zone of the country, where medical services have been largely cut off since the country plunged into conflict two years ago," OCHA said in a statement.

"Côte d'Ivoire's polio outbreak is a reflection of the generally precarious state of the health sector in northern and western Côte d'Ivoire, the zones most affected by the crisis. Ivorian health staff are yet to be redeployed - in some cases they have been absent since the crisis began two years ago - and as the various state structures responsible for provision of medicines and other supplies are not in place."

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) carried out four national immunization campaigns this year, the latest having taken place from 8 to 11 October, OCHA said.

Appealing to international donors for funds to carry out another two rounds of polio and measles vaccinations before the end of the year, OCHA said the UN's Humanitarian Appeal for Côte d'Ivoire has received less than any other UN appeal - only 16.7 percent of the $61 million required for all humanitarian emergency programmes for the year.

Using European Union (EU) funds, UNICEF has trained 36 administrative staff, 22 doctors, 241 nurses and 439 health care assistants in the Bouaké, Korhogo, Boundiali, Tiengrela, Odienné, Bouna, M'bahiakro and Tiébissou districts, OCHA said.