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Syrian government allows UN agencies to implement vaccination program across country

March 02, 5:05 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
This will require sustained access in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, and that both government and armed opposition groups facilitate access to all Syrian children
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UNITED NATIONS, March 2. /TASS/. The Syrian government has allowed UN agencies and their partners to implement a nationwide immunization program against childhood diseases in Syria, UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said on Wednesday.

"Senior government officials in Damascus have agreed that together with WHO and our partners including the Ministry of Health, we can go ahead and immediately plan and seek to implement a nationwide immunization program against childhood diseases," Lake said after visiting the Syrian city of Homs. "This will require sustained access in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, and that both government and armed opposition groups facilitate access to all Syrian children," he added.

"Over the past five years, with our partners such as the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, UNICEF has reached more than 10 million people, mostly children, with water, health and nutrition services, education and supportive counselling," the UNICEF executive director said. "But there are so many more children to reach. There are more than eight million children who need assistance: six million inside Syria and more than two million who have fled the violence to neighboring countries," he added.

"Everywhere I have visited in Damascus, Homs, Hama and Al-Salameya people spoke of hope. Hope that there will be peace, hope that peace can be found in more than a diplomatic piece of paper, hope that peace will return in their daily lives," Lake noted.

The ceasefire between government forces and armed opposition took effect in Syria at 00:00 Damascus Time on February 27. An hour before the agreement entered into force, UN Security Council adopted a resolution in support of cessation of hostilities in Syria. It is expected that inter-Syrian talks will resume in Geneva on March 9.

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