Japan Grants US$2.64 Million to UNICEF for Eradication of Polio in Pakistan
3 November 2011 – The Government of Japan has provided US$2.64 (203 million yen) to UNICEF to support efforts for eradicating polio in Pakistan. A signing ceremony and exchange of notes was held today in presence of the Secretary, Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC), Amjad Ali Khan.
The Ambassador of Japan, H.E Hiroshi Oe and UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, Dan Rohrmann, signed and exchanged notes while the grant agreement was signed by the Senior Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Toshiya Sato and the UNICEF Representative.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary Amjad Khan, Ministry of IPC said, “On behalf of the children and the Government of Pakistan, please accept our heartfelt thanks for helping materialize the dream of a polio-free Pakistan. We appreciate the kindness of the Government of Japan and all the good work done by UNICEF in putting this programme together. Unfortunately, the problem of polio has resurfaced due to lack of resources in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Balochistan, rural Sindh and some other areas of Pakistan. I am confident that measures being put in place by the Government to control this situation will be supplemented by the Government of Japan’s kindness expressed today.”
Ambassador Hiroshi Oe said, “I believe that the Japanese grant assistance, loan and technical cooperation will help to alleviate the sufferings of all children. Nothing is “off limits” for the polio virus. The vaccines should also reach the children in the most inaccessible areas, especially because there are outbreaks of polio in the border area with Afghanistan.”
“The partnership with UNICEF in terms of polio eradication initiative in Pakistan has stood the test of time and continued to flourish during the last 16 years. It has been built on mutual trust and an unshakeable commitment to serve a noble humanitarian cause,” said the Senior Representative of JICA, Toshiya Sato.
Speaking on the occasion, UNICEF Representative, Dan Rohrmann said, “The support from the Government of Japan comes at a critical time for accelerating and realizing the National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication by the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari. We have already seen 136 children contracting polio this year. We must remember that behind every number there is a face of a child and a family that is devastated. Eradicating polio from Pakistan will not only be a gift to the children and their families in Pakistan but to all the children of the world who will benefit from a world freed from polio.”
“UNICEF is immensely grateful for this tremendous collaboration with Japan aimed at providing a polio-free future for the children of Pakistan. This new support will be used to ensure that sufficient quantities of vaccine are available for campaigns in 2012 and will also be used for related communication,” he added.
The Government of Japan has supported the Polio Eradication Programme in Pakistan since 1996 and continues to be one of the largest donors for Pakistan’s polio eradication efforts. It has so far contributed US$89.5 million in funding and has also approved an additional US$65 million as soft loan for the next year. Altogether, Japan’s support for the year 2012 through the latest grant and the soft loan constitutes 59 per cent of the total oral polio vaccine requirement of Pakistan.
The latest Japanese support will be used to purchase 11 million doses of the oral polio vaccine and for social mobilization messaging to eliminate misunderstanding and prejudice against polio vaccination, especially in the north-western Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which has reported nearly 50 per cent of the polio cases.
The Polio Eradication Initiative of Pakistan has scheduled eight National and Sub-National Immunizations Days (NIDs) for 2012. Each NID will require more than 40 million doses of the oral polio vaccine.
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