|© UNICEF Nigeria/2009/Nwosu|
|From left to right: UNICEF Representative in Nigeria Dr. Suomi Sakai, Nigeria's Minister of Health Babatunde Osotimehin and Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria Toshitsugu Uesawa exchanging notes at the signing of a Grant Agreement in Nigeria.|
ABUJA, Nigeria, 19 August 2009 – UNICEF Nigeria has received 8.5 million dollars, from the Government of Japan, to support polio eradication, routine immunization and malaria prevention efforts.
The Resident Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Kyojin Mima and UNICEF Representative Dr. Suomi Sakai, signed a Grant Agreement yesterday at the Federal Ministry of Health.
Present at the signing was the Honourable Minister of Health Professor Babatunde Osotimehin and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria H.E. Mr. Toshitsugu Uesawa.
Reducing child mortality
Nigeria is making progress in reducing its high child mortality rate. But challenges remain if the country is to achieve its Millennium Development Goals in health.
Deadly childhood diseases are still rampant in the country. Malaria alone is responsible for one quarter of child deaths and preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus and whooping cough are also major causes of child mortality.
Strengthening disease prevention
Dr. Sakai praised the grant, saying, “it will make significant contribution to Nigeria’s final push to stop the transmission of the wild poliovirus and to the effort towards universal coverage of two nets per household in the country, using long lasting insecticide treated nets – all by the end of 2010.”
This year’s contribution from the Government of Japan will be used to provide Oral Polio Vaccine for use against polio during Immunisation Plus Days, and to procure cold rooms to strengthen the immunisation cold chain system.
It will also be used to procure Long Lasting Insecticide-Treated Nets for malaria control and to support social communication to empower families and communities with knowledge, skills and tools that will improve child health.
History of support
Since 2000, the Government of Japan has contributed about 67 million dollars for the prevention of infectious diseases in Nigeria through the UNICEF/Federal Government of Nigeria Programme of Cooperation.
“I earnestly hope that this project will foster the welfare of Nigerian children,” said Ambassador Uesawa. “Japan will be together with Nigerian people as a partner and a friend.”
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