Ging appears to blame the block on the tensions between Muslim Sudan and Christian South Sudan, but South Kordofan and Blue Nile are both in Sudan, not South Sudan. The block more likely has to do with Muslim clerics saying that the vaccine is un-Islamic. There is a polio outbreak in Syria because Pakistani jihadis are bringing the virus from home. A Pakistani Muslim cleric has said that polio vaccinations are un-Islamic. And the Taliban has for some time been murdering people who were administering the polio vaccine in Pakistan. And it isn’t just Pakistan: last February in Nigeria, a Muslim cleric was arrested for playing a role in sparking the murders of polio workers. Could it be that the same nonsense about the vaccine that afflicts Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria is now being preached in Sudan?
“Sudan polio vaccination blocked, says UN’s John Ging,” from the BBC, November 12 (thanks to Ales):
Efforts to vaccinate 165,000 children against polio in Sudan have been blocked by the government and rebels, the UN humanitarian chief says.
John Ging said the two sides should stop “filibustering” and give health workers access to children in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
The government and rebels had ignored a Security Council resolution to give health workers access, he said.
The UN fears that conflict in the two states could lead to a polio outbreak.
According to the UN World Health Organization, Sudan has been polio-free for more than two years.
South Kordofan and Blue Nile border South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in 2011 after a peace deal to end years of civil war.
The UN held talks with the government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) to carry out vaccinations from 5 November to 12 November but “unfortunately we have been filibustered with process and discussions and disputes which have amounted to no access”, Mr Ging told journalists, after briefing the Security Council.
It should use its “significant authority” to force the government and SPLM-N to let health workers in, he said.
China’s UN ambassador Liu Jieyi, who is the current president of the UN Security Council, said the lack of access was “disturbing”.
However, he did not refer to any action that the Security Council intended to take against the government and SPLM-N, the Associated Press news agency reports.
Mr Ging said the UN had already been forced to cut back on plans to send food and other relief to South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and had decided to focus on the vaccination drive….