|© UNICEF Egypt/2005|
|A child receiving polio vaccine drops during one of Egypt’s nationwide immunization campaigns.|
By Simon Ingram
CAIRO, 1 September 2005 – As Indonesia strives to contain a recent polio outbreak, Egypt is in the last stages of freeing itself from the disease, which once crippled thousands of children here every year.
Although Egypt is still considered a polio-endemic country – one of a handful left in the world – the country hasn’t seen a single case during the last year, as a result of massive nationwide polio immunization campaigns. On 29 August the Government of Japan donated $3.7 million to help UNICEF and partners continue their efforts to eradicate polio in Egypt.
"In the campaign to eradicate polio globally, Egypt has played its part to the full. The level of polio transmission in Egypt is now at its lowest," said Erma Manoncourt, UNICEF Representative in Egypt.
In addition to the Egypt donation, the Government of Japan has provided other essential support for the global effort against polio, contributing to immunization campaigns in countries like Nigeria, India, and Pakistan.
|© UNICEF Egypt/2005|
|L to R: UNICEF Representative in Egypt Erma Manoncourt; Egypt’s Minister of Health and Population, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Awad Tag El Din; and Ambassador of Japan to Egypt Kunihiko Makita, at a ceremony marking Japan’s $3.7 million donation.|
NIDs to immunize millions
“As you are all aware, polio is such a dreadful disease. It might terminate the lives of children or heavily handicap their future,” said Japan’s Ambassador to Egypt, Kunihiko Makita. “Today my government is providing a grant worth $3.7 million to continue this fruitful cooperation between the Japanese government and UNICEF.”
The grant is the third of its kind to benefit Egypt, and will be used to procure 26.5 million doses of polio vaccine for the National Immunization Days (NIDs) to be held in November 2005 and during the first quarter of 2006.
The funds will also help purchase refrigerators and other essential equipment, and will provide transportation for more than 13,000 health workers as they implement the campaign.
Some 11 million children under the age of 5 will be immunized against polio during the upcoming NIDs.
1 September 2005:
UNICEF’s Simon Ingram reports on Japan’s donation of $3.7 million to help eradicate polio in Egypt.