COTONOU, October 8, 2009 – UNICEF Representative in Benin, Dr. Souleymane Diallo, handed over to the Minister of Health, Dr. Issifou Takpara, a set of vehicles, motorcycles, medical equipment, and computer equipment, for the strengthening of the national health system and implementation of the Accelerated Child Survival and Development Strategy.
The equipment which total value amounts to $1 million includes the following: 8 Toyota vehicles, 130 motorcycles, 50 refrigerators and 50 freezers, 2000 ice packs, 5000 vaccine cold boxes, computer equipment, and 3 Polymerase Chain Reactive (PCR) with accessories and reactives for early diagnosis of HIV among children.
Thanks to vehicles and motorbikes, early detection and referral management of children suffering from acute malnutrition will be insured. In addition, supervision and monitoring of activities will be conducted in a more efficient manner, especially in the rainy season when roads are slick with mud. Facilities in five health districts will be equipped with devices. The cold chain will be improved with adequate items. As a result, preventive and curative interventions will be enhanced for immunization programmes, HIV/AIDS, ante and post natal care.
On behalf of the Government of Benin, Minister Takpara expressed his gratitude to UNICEF for its highly appreciated support. He instructed his collaborators to keep track of every item delivered on this occasion, for the sake of transparency.
Dr. Souleymane Diallo commended the Government of Benin for the continuous efforts made to alleviate poverty and improve the living conditions of people. He called on different partners of the health sector to curb the under-five mortality rate from 125 to 70 per cent, and the maternal mortality ratio from 397 to 300 for 100,000 live births by 2013. “We can save lives through the rapid scaling up of high-impact and cost-effective interventions”, Dr. Diallo asserted.
Although Benin has made significant progress in reducing the under five mortality rate from 148 in 2001 to 125 in 2006 for 1000 live births, children often pay a high toll to malaria, diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections, HIV /AIDS and malnutrition. In addition, a resurgence of polio has been reported from zero case in 2005 to 20 cases in 2009.
The UNICEF donation will be pivotal to improve access to quality basic health services especially for mothers, new born and children.
For more information:
Dr. Jacques Hassan, EPI Specialist,
Tel + 229 2130 02 66 x184
Gisèle Langue-Menye, Communication Specialist,
Tel + 229 2130 02 66 / 2130 09 42