Kabul, August 27, 2018 – The Government of Japan has responded to the urgent call to scale up maternal and child health action in Afghanistan with new assistance to UNICEF of USD 8.1 million. The grant is a part of the overall supports to address the wellbeing of mothers and children, with a focus on health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, through the scale-up of the system to the nationwide to utilize a comprehensive handbook for service receivers and providers within the Basic Primary Health Service (BPHS) system across all 34 provinces of the country.
At a signing ceremony held today at the Embassy of Japan in Kabul between H.E. Mr. Mitsuji SUZUKA, Ambassador of Japan and Ms. Adele KHODR, UNICEF Representative, H.E Dr. Ferozudin FEROZ, Minister of Public Health of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan who was present said, “I would like to thank again the Government and people of Japan for supporting the Ministry of Public Health in scaling up of this important project. I would like to thank UNICEF, our trusted partner, in need since long for joining us to implement this nationwide activity. Now it is our pleasure that we would again have you as a partner to reach every mother and child with such a passport/ record to a healthy future”.
Since January 2016, the Ministry of Public Health, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners have been working together to develop Afghanistan’s first ever integrated home-based and hand-held personal record of maternal and child health and nutrition. A prototype of the Afghanistan Maternal and Child Health Handbook (MCH HB) was developed last year and piloted in two districts (Kama and Mirbachakot), which was recently evaluated. The Ministry of Public Health is now ready to scale up implementation of the MCH HB across all 34 provinces in Afghanistan.
The contribution from the People of Japan through the Project for “Promoting Maternal and Child Health Handbook” in Afghanistan, will target 5.2 million beneficiaries - 2.1 million pregnant women and 3.1 million children under two years of age - and their respective families. UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, Ms. Adele Khodr, expressed gratitude to the Government and people of Japan for their continued support to the well-being of the children this country over the last seventeen years. “UNICEF values the partnership with the Government of Japan and the sustained support to children in need, especially within a protracted context such as Afghanistan. Continued investment in Afghanistan’s children, especially the most vulnerable is a key building block for the future stability and development of this country” Khodr emphasized.
H.E. Mr. Mitsuji Suzuka, Ambassador of Japan, remarked, “One of the Japan's development policy is promotion of the development and improvement of public health system, especially for women. This system continues for more than 70 years in Japan and has now been expanded in many parts of the world. This handbook is a collection of information that highlights the health of children. The mothers become happy whenever looks at the handbook and see the healthy growth of their children at growing stage and afterwards. Now it's time for Afghanistan to be distributed through their relevant authorities. Although, it is important, of course, the distribution of the handbook itself does not guarantee the health of the mothers and healthy growth of the children. It is essential to have a good public health network, access to health facilities and the cooperation of public health personnel. I hope that the handbook will be used better in Afghanistan and further developed.”
Japan has been assisting Afghanistan’s nation-building efforts in various fields including security, infrastructure, agriculture, rural development, human capacity development, education, health, culture and humanitarian assistance. The cumulative Japanese assistance to Afghanistan since 2001 amounts to approximately $6.6 billion.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Afghanistan, visit www.unicef.org/afghanistan.