May 21, 2002

Haiti begins vaccinating against polio, measles next

                 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Shaken by a recent deadly polio outbreak
                 in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, volunteers on Monday placed drops of
                 vaccine on children's tongues to start a nine-week inoculation campaign.

                 The July 2000-July 2001 outbreak on the island of Hispaniola was the first in the
                 Americas since 1991. Thirteen children in the Dominican Republic and eight in Haiti
                 contracted the disease. Two in Haiti died.

                 "Two drops of polio serum on the tongue and we can save a life," said Solange
                 Alex, a 59-year-old nurse. "We're very happy to help eradicate this paralyzing

                 Three-year-old Dmitri Dusse smiled after receiving the vaccine and said, "I don't
                 have to be afraid of fever."

                 Patients receiving the vaccine develop a mild form of polio resulting in immunity.
                 Researchers said the outbreak occurred when nonimmunized children came in
                 contact with children who received the oral vaccine in 1998-1999.

                 "It is inadmissible that children continue dying for avoidable causes," said Sylvana
                 Nzirorera, a spokeswoman for UNICEF, which is funding the campaign with the
                 World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.

                 The Dominican Republic campaign begins May 31.

                 The vaccination of Haiti's children has been irregular, health ministry official Claude
                 Surena said.

                 Volunteers will inoculate schoolchildren nationwide before heading to slums and
                 villages to inoculate children there against polio and measles.

                 The $700,000 campaign will inoculate 2 million children under 10.

                 "I'm happy polio won't paralyze my kids now," said Emmanuela Pierre, whose two
                 children were inoculated at the Jul Nord school in Cite l'Eternel, a seaside slum
                 where disease is commonplace.

                  Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.