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Japan donates N544 million to UNICEF for polio eradication and malaria prevention in Nigeria

Abuja, 23 August 2006 - As Nigeria is still reporting the largest number of poliovirus cases in the world, the Government of Japan today donated N 544 Million   (JPY 495 Million) to UNICEF in order to support the immunization drive. An important part of this grant will also be used for the prevention of malaria - the largest killer of children in Africa.

The exchanges of notes between H.E. Mr. Akio Tanaka, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria and Mr. Ayalew Abai, UNICEF Representative, took place at the Federal Ministry of Health in the presence of Pr Eyitayo Lambo, Hon. Minister of Health and Dr Edugie Abebe, National Coordinator of the National Programme on Immunisation.

‘We are at a critical stage in our fight against polio in Nigeria as this country is now the last polio endemic country in Africa’, said Mr. Ayalew Abai, UNICEF Representative. ‘We must win this battle in order to prevent the rest of the continent to be affected again. These funds are coming at the right time. It will certainly contribute to the successful implementation of the new Government strategy, which is to offer the polio vaccine together with other essential vaccines for children under five.'

In Nigeria, one in five children dies before the fifth birthday.  Malaria and vaccine preventable diseases (measles, tetanus, tuberculosis, polio, pertussis, diphtheria, yellow fever, hepatitis B) are among the major causes of the death of these children.

The contribution from the Government of Japan will also be used to procure of more than 315,000 Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) to pregnant women and young children. A long-lasting net is a ready-to-use, pre-treated mosquito net, which requires no further treatment during its expected life span of 3 top 5 years. These nets have been developed in response to the low re-treatment rates of conventional insecticide treated nets, especially in Africa. The LLINs will be distributed in the most hard to reach and deprived LGAs targeted by the joint UNICEF-Government of Nigeria programme of cooperation.

‘The Japanese Government is committed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly Goal 4 and 5, which are the reduction of child mortality and the improvement of maternal health’, said H.E. Mr. Akio Tanaka, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria at the ceremony. ‘Through the cooperation with UNICEF, we will contribute to save the life of thousands of Nigerian children.’
In the past years, Japan has been one of the major donors for the polio eradication campaign in different countries such as Egypt, India or Pakistan, funding millions of polio vaccines as well as immunization equipment. Since 2000, the Government of Japan has contributed N 3.4 billion (US $ 27 Million) for the prevention of infectious diseases in Nigeria through UNICEF.

For Further information and interviews please contact:

  • Geoffrey Njoku, UNICEF Communication Officer, UNICEF Nigeria, Tel: 0803 52 50 288, e-mail: gnjoku@unicef.org
  • Shintaro KITAGAWA, First Secretary (Economic Cooperation), Embassy of Japan in Nigeria, Tel: 09-413-8898, 9258,9718,9719

 

 
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