1.8 million dollars Japanese aid to fight polio in India
31st August 2007 New Delhi The Government of Japan today pledged 1.8 million dollars for the eradication of poliomyelitis in India. His Excellency Yasukuni Enoki, the Japanese Ambassador to India, and Mr. Cecilio Adorna, UNICEF India Representative today signed an MOU formalizing the partnership. These funds will be utilized to purchase oral polio vaccine (OPV) for the children of North Eastern states of India, including West Bengal and Assam. Around 15.47 million children under the age of five in these states will benefit from this programme.
Mr. Adorna acknowledged the leadership of the Government of India in the Polio Eradication programme and also thanked the government and the people of Japan for their support. “India is at the last mile in the eradication of polio. Japan has been one of India’s most important partners in this fight against the disease” he said.
His Excellency Yasukuni Enoki hailed this as another milestone in the Indo-Japanese friendship and in the long standing relationship between the Government of Japan and UNICEF. He congratulated the Government of India in its constant efforts to eradicate polio while stressing his country’s commitment to eradicate the disease.
The Government of Japan has been supporting polio eradication in the North Eastern states, including Assam and West Bengal since 1996.
India continues to make significant progress against polio with 169 cases reported in 2007 (as of 27th August), compared with 676 cases in 2006. Though transmission of the virus continues, infection is relatively localized in a small number of districts in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. 12 cases have also been reported from Uttarakhand (3), Andhra Pradesh (5), Rajasthan (1), Haryana (1), Maharashtra (1) and Gujarat (1).
The polio eradication campaign in India is the largest in the world. During 2006 UNICEF India procured over 1.076 billion doses of polio vaccines of which 35,260,000 (1,763,000 vials) doses were procured with the support of the Government of Japan. During National Immunization Days, more than 174 million children under the age of five receive OPV.