UNICEF, WHO Say 250,000 Libyan Children’s lives at Risk Over Lack of Vaccines

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The World Health Organization and UNICEF announced in a joint statement on Saturday that the lives and health of more than 250,000 Libyan children under the age of one year are at risk of disease due to an acute shortage of vaccines.

The two organisations pointed out that routine vaccination services could not reach children as a result of the border closures caused by the Coronavirus epidemic. This heavily increases the risk of measles and polio outbreak re-emerging in the country. Libya now has acute shortages of the hexagon vaccine that protects against six diseases and lacks supplies for the oral polio vaccine.

The two organisations expect that Libya will face a reduction in the stock of medicines for a second year in a row.

UNICEF renewed its call to provide its procurement services to officials in Libya to purchase these vaccines, supply them to WHO with competitive prices to deliver them to Libya immediately.

For her part, Elizabeth Hof, head of mission for the World Health Organization in Libya, said that the people in the south of the country have limited access to health care services.

She added that residents of eastern Libya are finding it difficult to get medicine, explaining that the medical aid that has been distributed to the people of the region will help keep health care facilities open.

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) has adopted a series of pre-emptive measures against COVID-19.
This includes the closure of borders, travel restrictions, and the banning of public gatherings.

A nationwide curfew has also been imposed, with mosques and schools remaining closed since mid-March.