9 November 2010 -- Japan contributes US$10.3 million to children’s health in Sudan
Partnership with UNICEF and national health authorities will tackle and prevent infectious diseases in children, provide training of health workers and healthcare for pregnant women.
Khartoum, The Government of Japan will continue its contribution to improve the health of Sudanese children and women, by signing an agreement with UNICEF for a grant of approximately US$ 10.3 million in support of vaccination, infectious disease prevention and maternal healthcare programmes throughout Sudan during 2011.
A signing ceremony took place at 10:00 a.m. on the 10 of November, at the Federal Ministry of Health. H.E Abdalla Juma Tia, Federal Minister of Health, witnessed the event in which the Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Akinori Wada, and UNICEF Representative in Sudan, Mr. Nils Kastberg, exchanged signed notes to formalize the contribution.
Japan’s contribution to Sudan will cover an extensive programme for vaccination, infectious disease prevention and maternal healthcare that will reach over 11 million children and women across SudanJapan’s contribution to Sudan will cover an extensive programme for vaccination, infectious disease prevention and maternal healthcare that will reach over 11 million children and women across Sudan.
Building capacities in healthcare
Through a partnership between UNICEF, the Federal Ministry of Health and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and with the participation of local health authorities all across Sudan, around 6.6 million children in the 15 Northern states will receive polio vaccinations, and more than 2,800 women will be trained as community midwives in those areas where the lack of medical attention for pregnant women is critical. In Southern Sudan, over 3.2 million children will receive polio and measles vaccinations, while more than 750,000 women will receive tetanus vaccine, in order to prevent a common cause of newborn and maternal death in the south.
The Japan-funded programme will also include activities oriented towards capacity building of health workers and government programme supervisors, as well as the establishment of community-based initiatives and activities for healthcare and disease detection, prevention and treatment. Also, the programme will make special emphasis in remote areas and high-risk populations, in accordance with the basic principles of equity in humanitarian access.
Towards achievement of Millenium Development Goals
Despite the noticeable progress in protecting children’s health since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, child mortality rates in Sudan still remain a cause for concern, especially when most deaths in children under five years of age are due to preventable causes.
To support Sudan in the achievement of Millennium Development Goal 4 - halving the under-five mortality rate to 62 deaths per 1,000 live births, strong efforts to improve child survival and development are required. Disease prevention and control are one of the cornerstones of an integral healthcare policy aimed to improve the lives of the most vulnerable sectors of the population, such as children and women.
In maternal and child health, JICA has been implementing capacity development project targeting empowerment of village midwives (VMWs) in Sudan since 2008. The project focuses on 7 day training for VMW as well as networking between VMWs and other MCH health cadres. Having established a training model in a pilot state, Sinnar State, JICA is currently at the stage to replicate the ‘Sinnar Model’ to other states in Sudan in cooperation with UNICEF.
Commenting on the close cooperation between JICA and UNICEF in Sudan, Ambassador Wada said, “This contribution from the Government of Japan makes it possible for JICA and UNICEF to conduct VMWs’ training more efficiently and effectively, particularly in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, by utilizing the strategy and experiences from JICA. I hope this will become an example of successful partnership among international organizations, local governments and Japan.”
Helping Sudanese children: Japan and UNICEF
Japan has a long history of contributing to the improvement of health conditions of children in Sudan. Since 2000, Sudan has benefited from the Government of Japan’s contribution to preventing infectious disease among children, which includes strong support for polio eradication strategies, measles elimination campaigns, increasing access to quality essential primary health care services and reduction of malaria-related morbidity and mortality, among other aspects. The Government of Japan, since 2000, has provided about US$30 million in funding to support infectious disease control and prevention, enabling UNICEF to support the Government of Sudan in their quest for better health for children nationwide.
Acknowledging the importance of Japan’s continued support to health programmes in Sudan, UNICEF Representative Nils Kastberg said, “This contribution is yet another demonstration of Japan’s unwavering commitment to cooperate in the fight against preventable diseases for children, and to give them the best chance for a healthy start to life.”