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UNICEF and Japan Join Hands to Improve Newborn Health Care

Dhaka, 07 March 2012: A new partnership between the Government of Bangladesh, Government of Japan and UNICEF Bangladesh was launched today to improve  the quality for new born health care. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will implement the project titled “Quality Improvement Initiative for Newborn Health Care” with 1.15 million USD (approximately 9.2 crore taka) funding from the Japan Government for the next two years.

UNICEF Representative, Pascal Villeneuve, said “Bangladesh has made considerable progress in improving child survival over the last few decades. There is also a downward trend in maternal mortality, so the country is well on track to achieve MDG-5. Despite this encouraging scenario, neonatal mortality still remains a challenge and most of these deaths occur within the critical first week of life”.

He also expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan for their generous support to this life-saving initiative.

The Ambassador of Japan in Bangladesh, H.E.  Mr. Shiro Sadoshima, emphasized that Japan put much importance on Bangladesh as a pilot country for the newly formulated Japan’s global health policy (2011-2015), which aims to deliver results effectively and efficiently by addressing bottlenecks that impedes progress on the health MDGs. He expressed his hope that this partnership will further bolster on-going efforts by the government of Bangladesh through the new Health Sector Programme (2012-16). 

Mr. Shigeki Furuta, Senior Representative, JICA mentioned in his speech that the launching of this new initiative, supported by the Government of Japan will contribute to strengthening the quality assurance system for quality new-born care services as per national standards. JICA also expressed their commitment to work in partnership through sharing their experiences and lessons learnt from their Safe Motherhood Promotion Project (SMPP).  

UNICEF is already supporting the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in implementing three large initiatives in maternal, neonatal and child health, mostly in the low-performing districts and covering the most deprived populations in those areas. 

Adding to this support, the project will further contribute to improve quality and safety of newborn health care in order to increase newborn survival. Major interventions are to upgrade facilities with special care newborn unit (SCANU), capacity development in clinical care delivery for sick newborns and quality improvement skills, strengthening monitoring and supervision and strengthen effective referral links between facilities.

The project will be implemented in six hospitals around the country, namely Mymensingh and Chittagong Medical College Hospitals, Kishoregonj, Netrokona, Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban District Hospitals. 

Prof. Dr. A.F.M. Ruhal Haque, Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare attended the launch event as chief guest.  Prof. Dr. Syed Modasser Ali, Adviser to the Honourable Prime Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW), Dr. Captain (Rtd.) Mozibur Rahman Fakir, MP and Honourable State Minister, MoH&FW, Dr. Humayan Kabir, Secretary, MoH&FW, Mr.Shiro Sadoshima, the Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh,  and Mr. Shigeki Furuta, Senior Representative, JICA were present as special guests at the programme while Prof. Dr. Khondhaker Md. Shefayet Ullah, Director General of Health Services presided over the meeting at the SASAKAWA Auditorium of ICDDR,B.

For more information, please contact:
• Iftikhar Ahmed Chowdhury, Communication Officer, Communication, Advocacy & Partnership Section, Tel: (+88) 02 885 2266 Ext 7028, Mobile: (+88) 01711 595045, Email:
• Shima Islam, Chief, Communication, Advocacy & Partnership Section; Tel: (+88) 02 885 2266 Ext 7020, Email:
• Yasuharu Shinto, First Secretary (Economic & Development Cooperations), Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh, Tel: (+88)   02  881 0087  Ext. 110,  Email:
• Hiroshi Omura, First Secretary(Cultural & Public Relations, Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh, Tel: (+88)   02  881 0087  EXT   150,  Email:



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