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UN warns of health disaster in Sudan due to lack of funds

3/31/2006 4:29pm

NAIROBI, March 31 (Xinhua) -- UN health agency on Friday warned of adverse consequences for the health of millions of people throughout Sudan unless funds for humanitarian interventions are secured immediately.

In a statement received here, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the current lack of funding coupled with growing security concerns in areas such as Darfur will reduce access to safe water and healthcare services resulting in a possible significant rise in cases of malaria, meningitis, diarrhea diseases, acute respiratory infections and measles.

"A significant increase in disease incidence and in preventable deaths is expected unless the shortfall of 24 million U.S. dollars in funds for health are provided immediately," said Ala Din Alwan, WHO's representative for health action in crises.

As part of the United Nations Work Plan for Sudan, WHO said it has developed 20 health projects for the enhancement of health of the population of Sudan.

"WHO and partners need sustained financial support in order to continue to reduce suffering and save lives in Sudan," it said.

The UN health agency said communicable diseases are the leading cause of death in Sudan.

Over the last six months, Sudan has experienced major outbreaks of epidemic diseases such as acute watery diarrhea and cholera, dengue, yellow fever, monkey pox and meningitis, placing additional strains on already stretched health care services.

"A shortfall or a delay in funding could compromise achievements of 2004 and 2005 and the health of millions of people could be at increased risk," said Guido Sabatinelli, WHO representative in Sudan.

Currently, outbreaks of meningitis are affecting 15 of the 25 states throughout Sudan, with 1,335 reported cases and 145 deaths and six states have infection rates above the epidemic threshold for meningococcal diseases. Enditem

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