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Japan boosts Child Survival in Nigeria with N1.2 Billion

...Contribution targets Polio eradication, malaria prevention and routine immunization

Abuja, Tuesday 18 August, 2009 - The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today received a grant of N1.2 Billion (US $ 8.5 Million) for Child Survival programmes in Nigeria.  Donated by the Government of Japan, the grant is for polio eradication, routine immunization and the prevention of malaria. Ceremony of the Exchange of Notes between H.E. Mr. Toshitsugu Uesawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, and Dr. Suomi Sakai, UNICEF Representative and the signing of Grant Agreement between Ms. Kae Yanagisawa, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Dr. Sakai took place today at the Federal Ministry of Health in the presence of Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Honourable Minister of Health.

Although Nigeria is making progress in reducing its high child mortality rate, some challenges remain that need to be addressed if Nigeria is to achieve the health MDGs. Childhood killer diseases are still rampant. Malaria alone is responsible for one quarter of deaths of children while vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus or whooping cough are also among the major causes of child mortality. In addition, the wild poliovirus is still endemic in Nigeria, although great strides have been taken in recent times to ensure interruption of wild polio virus in the country in the months ahead.

The level of child mortality can be reduced with simple interventions such as immunization and the use of insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria.

This grant will contribute to stopping Wild Poliovirus transmission in Nigeria by the end of 2010; strengthen the immunization cold chain system and contribute to the reduction in deaths and illnesses due to Malaria.
 
“This grant is timely and will make significant contribution to Nigeria’s final push to stop the transmission of the wild poliovirus and the effort towards universal coverage of two nets per household in the country using long lasting insecticide treated nets, all by end of 2010” said UNICEF Representative Dr. Suomi Sakai.

This year’s contribution from the Government of Japan will be used to provide Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) for use against polio during Immunisation Plus Days (IPDs) and to procure cold rooms to strengthen immunisation cold chain system. It will also be used to procure Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN) for malaria control to complement national efforts of universal coverage of two nets per household in Nigeria by 2010 and support social communication to empower families and communities with knowledge, skills and tools that will improve the chances of children to survive.

Since 2000, the Government of Japan has contributed about N10 Billion (US $66.95 Million) for the prevention of infectious diseases in Nigeria through UNICEF/Federal Government of Nigeria Programme of Cooperation.

“I earnestly hope that this project will foster the welfare of Nigerian children” said, H.E. Mr Toshitsugu Uesawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria. “I expect Nigerians to continue to take action to accomplish the MDG. As long as Nigeria maintains its ownership, Japan will be together with Nigerian people as a partner and a friend”.

For media enquiries, please contact:
• Geoffrey Njoku, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Nigeria
Tel: 08035250288 or 09-461 6403 E-mail: gnjoku@unicef.org

• Ms. Masako Yamamoto, Attaché (Economic Cooperation), Embassy of Japan in Nigeria,
  Tel: 0803-408-0775 or 09-413-8898, 9718 or 09-461-3289, 3290

 

 
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