Exchange of Notes between Government of Japan and UNICEF
UN HOUSE, ABUJA, 18 AUGUST 2009
The Honourable Minister of Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Pr. Babatunde Osetimehin
It is my pleasure to address you all at this occasion of the Exchange of Notes between the Government of Japan here represented by H.E. Mr. Toshitsugu Uesawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, and UNICEF, in respect of this year’s donation of US$8.5M (N1.2 billion naira) by the Government of Japan for Child Survival Programmes in Nigeria. It has almost become a fact of life that this time every year since the year 2000, this event we are witnessing happens. Since that year, inclusive this year, the government and people of Japan has donated about N10 billion just through UNICEF to support child survival programmes in Nigeria.
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.
With this donation, the government and people of Japan have once again renewed their commitment to child survival in Nigeria. This large donation will contribute immensely to Nigeria’s drive towards achieving the health Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
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 Child Health Weeks 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.
Your Excellency, distinguished guests, gentlemen of the press, I thank you all for your attention.