Japan doubles donation to UNICEF for the reduction of child mortality in Nigeria
Abuja, 8 June 2007 - Child Survival programmes in Nigeria are to benefit from the generous grant of US $ 9.25 Million given by the Government of Japan to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for polio eradication, routine immunization and the prevention of malaria. The Exchange of Notes between H.E. Mr. Akio Tanaka, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, and Mr. Ayalew Abai, UNICEF Representative, took place today at the UN House in the presence of Malam Ibrahim Talba, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Ngozi Njepuoma, Head of Department of Public Health of the Federal Ministry of Health, and Mrs. Titi Koleosho-Adelekan, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPCHDA).
In Nigeria, one million children under five years of age die every year, representing 10% of the annual global child deaths in this age group. Malaria alone is responsible for one quarter of these fatalities while vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus or diphtheria are also among the major causes of child mortality. Nigeria remains one of the only four countries in the world that has not yet interrupted indigenous wild poliovirus transmission, and accounted for 56% of the global wild poliovirus cases and 94% of the cases in Africa in 2006.
‘This is the largest donation Japan has made to the joint UNICEF-Government of Nigeria programme for child survival in Nigeria in the past five years’, said Ayalew Abai, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. ‘This funding is timely to sustain the significant decline in wild poliovirus transmission since July 2006. It will greatly contribute to the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 4 as intensive action is needed to reach the objective of reducing child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.’
The contribution from the Government of Japan will be used for the procurement of polio vaccines, child survival supplies such as Oral Rehydration Sachets, deworming tablets for children aged 1 to 5 years and also drugs for malaria prevention in pregnant women. In addition, 202,700 Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN) will be procured for malaria control. This will complement the 318,800 Long Lasting Insecticide Nets already procured last year with funding from the Government of Japan. These nets will be distributed to the most deprived and hard to reach families in UNICEF focus communities as well as pregnant women attending ante-natal care and children who will have completed their scheduled vaccinations as an incentive to boost immunization. The Long Lasting Insecticide Nets are a new generation of mosquito nets, which have been developed in response to low re-treatment rates of conventional insecticide-treated mosquito nets, especially in Africa. These nets do not require any further treatment during its expected life span of 4 to 5 years.
In the past five years, Japan has been one of the major donors for immunization activities and malaria control programme in Nigeria. Since 2000, the Government of Japan has contributed US $ 36.2 Million for the prevention of infectious diseases in Nigeria through UNICEF.
“This contribution is part of Japan’s increased efforts to stop children suffering and dying from preventable diseases in Nigeria’, said Akio Tanaka, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria. “I hope it will help reduce child mortality and improve the lives of Nigerian women and children.’
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