Japan Boosts Child Survival in Nigeria with 1.24 Billion Naira
Contribution targets Polio Eradication, Routine Immunization and other Child Survival Interventions
Abuja, Tuesday 20 March, 2012. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today received a grant of JPY 600 Million (approximately US $ 7.85 Million or N1.24 Billion) for Child Survival programmes in Nigeria. Donated by the Government of Japan, the grant is for polio eradication, strengthening cold chain system especially for routine immunization and support for Maternal, New-born and Child Health Weeks (MNCHWs) in Nigeria.
The ceremony of the Signing and Exchange of Notes between H.E. Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, and Dr. Suomi Sakai, UNICEF Representative; and the signing of Grant Agreement between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and UNICEF, took place today at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja in the presence of Prof. Christian Chukwu, 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. Although great strides had been taken in recent past to ensure interruption of wild polio virus transmission in Nigeria, the year 2011 witnessed a setback with a three-fold increase in the number of Wild Poliovirus cases compared to the number recorded for same period of 2010.
This calls for the development of a polio emergency plan in Nigeria, which has just been elaborated by Government and partners. This plan needs to be supported by all and this contribution will go a long way in ensuring that there will be enough funding for Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) for planned polio supplemental immunization activities (SIAs) in 2012, among other inputs. The level of child mortality can be reduced with simple interventions such as immunization and other child survival interventions delivered in an integrated manner.
This year’s contribution from the Government of Japan will be used to provide Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) for use during Immunisation-Plus Days (IPDs). It will also be used to procure cold chain equipment to fill existing cold chain gaps in the context of new vaccines introduction. In addition, the grant will support the procurement of essential drugs (Albendazole tablets for de-worming), that will be distributed during MNCHWs as well as contribute to operational cost of the MNCHWs.
“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 strengthening routine immunization including expanding the cold chain system for introduction of new vaccines as well as for institutionalizing Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Weeks (MNCHWs) in Nigeria” said UNICEF Representative Dr. Suomi Sakai.
Since 2000, the Government of Japan has been a major donor supporting child survival interventions in general and infectious diseases prevention in children in Nigeria in particular, through the UNICEF/Federal Government of Nigeria Programme of Cooperation.
“Regarding the eradication of polio, we have come a long way. A great reduction in the number of polio victims has been observed in Nigeria since 2003. Japan is proud of being a partner together with Nigerian Government and UNICEF on the road towards polio eradication.” said, H.E. Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria. “We are resolved to tackle the yet unfinished work, so that the efforts shall not be in vain. We shall join hands to save children from pain.”
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