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Namibia, 25 April 2013: Government of Japan unveils a US$1.5 million grant to improve health and nutrition for Namibia's women and children

Windhoek, 25 April 2013 - The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of Japan today exchanged notes on a grant of US$1.5 million to support Ministry of Health and Social Services to strengthen maternal and child health services in Namibia. 

While Namibia has made some progress, ranking the top five countries in Africa to reduce child mortality in the past 10 years, the renewed commitment and support from the Government of Japan comes against a background of critical gaps persisting to continue reduction of maternal and child mortality currently standing at 200 per 100,000 live births and 42 per 1,000 live births respectively. And one in every three under five children experienced malnutrition in the form of stunting. Children and women in rural areas and the poorest quintiles are even more at risk of receiving quality health services compounded by frequent natural disasters. The major causes of under-five mortality are due to neonatal causes accounting for 38 per cent, HIV and AIDS (14%), pneumonia (12%), diarrhoea (5%), Measles (4%). (Source:UNICEF Global, A Promise Renewed Report, 2012). 

The Government of Japan’s contribution will help to provide an essential package of primary health care services, benefiting over 170,000 women and children in Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Omusati, Kunene, Kavango and Caprivi regions, including:

  • Provision of essential supplies for nutrition intervention and immunization equipment.
  • Improved health monitoring and evaluation system 
  • Training of health workers on diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition and other preventable childhood illnesses, 
  • Training and communication materials for health workers and volunteers on nutrition and maternal and child health.
  • Social Mobilization and community awareness raising on nutrition, maternal and child health and emergency preparedness to encourage communities to better protect their children's health.

"This package of interventions is very important to child survival and maternal health services.  The partnership between the Government of Namibia, the Government of Japan and UNICEF will ensure that children in those seven regions of Namibia, will be granted improved quality health services, especially immunization.  This will ensure that all children, whether rich or poor are protected from vaccine preventable diseases,” said Ms. Micaela Marques de Sousa, UNICEF Country Representative.

This is not the first support that Japan has extended to UNICEF in the past few years.  In 2006, the Government of Japan provided close to US$500,000 towards Namibia’s Polio outbreak response and the development of the health extension workers (HEW) strategy aimed at reaching the most disadvantaged communities with health services in the Northern regions of Namibia. 

“This support is very critical in order to scale up the country’s efforts on Maternal and Newborn health and child survival,” said Dr, Richard Kamwi, Minister of Health and Social Services. “It is also a timely boost for the Government of Namibia’s ongoing efforts to scale up interventions to improve quality equitable health services in the country towards attaining MDGs by 2015. We are extremely grateful to the Government of Japan.”

Over the past years Japan has been unwavering in its support for the women and children of the world through partnership with UNICEF.  Japan’s foreign aid to Namibia through UNICEF is part of its largest humanitarian contribution to UNICEF globally in its 67-years history. The government of Japan donated US$189.5 million as a whole for a wide range of projects in 35 countries and territories, including Namibia.

“With collective and sufficient resources from all of us, together, we can arrest the incidences of child and maternal diseases,” said H.E. Yutaka Yoshizawa, Japan’s Ambassador to Namibia based in Pretoria. “We hope that the  grant extended today will contribute to Namibia’s achievement of  two of the Millennium Development Goals- one is MDG 4, reducing under five mortality by two thirds by 2015 and the other is MDG 5, the improvement of maternal health. We are fully committed to assist in the attainment of these goals.” 

Contributing to the National development goals, the Ministry of Health and Social Services in collaboration with the Government of Japan, other donors, civil society, UNICEF and communities, continues working to guarantee that women and children have essential health services when they need them.  

 
About UNICEF

UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org

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