- Guinea Bissau government has secured US $600,000 from United Nations to fight cholera epidemic that has claimed 40 lives since May.
"The situation is grave and calls for urgent and critical engagement of all parties," said Silvia Luciani, UNICEF Representative for Guinea Bissau, urging agencies to step up efforts to ensure that all emergency funds and supplies are made available and utilised effectively to save human lives.
Funds injection follows an urgent appeal by Bissau's president to international community to complement government's efforts in fighting cholera.
According to UN statement, the fund will train health agents and for a public awareness campaign via the media.
“Strong rains have facilitated the rapid spread of the disease," said Agostinho Pedro Semedo, director of Bissau's central hospital.
Currently, UNICEF is leading efforts to disinfect Guinea-Bissau's water system and wells in the capital Bissau and most affected regions in south and west, managing potentially contaminating human waste, and distributing hygiene and sanitation products such as soap and bleach.
The agency is also spreading the message with support of religious and traditional leaders – calling on the population to respect recommendations on disease prevention and proper hygiene to prevent the spread of cholera.
UNICEF have emphasised importance of developing longer term national strategy to prevent this type of crisis from happening again.
UNICEF works in over 150 countries and territories all over the world to help children survival and development. First provider of vaccines to developing countries, UNICEF supports health and nutrition of children, access to potable water and sanitation, quality basic education for boys and girls, and protection of children against violence, all types of exploitation and HIV/AIDS. UNICEF is financed entirely by voluntary contributions of individuals, foundations, enterprises and governments.
Since it attained independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has been going through leadership and economic crisis. But the country's major problem has been linked to lack of adequate human resources among its ruling class. Bissau would hold elections in November.
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