UNICEF Democratic Republic of the Congo - Pour les Medias - Government of Japan provides $2.95 million to health Programs to fight infectious diseases in DR Congo

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Government of Japan provides $2.95 million to health Programs to fight infectious diseases in DR Congo

© Photo Unicef / RDCongo

A partnership with UNICEF and national health authorities to tackle infectious diseases among women and children
Kinshasa, 4th September, 2009 – Under the patronage of Mr Mwami MOPIPI MUKULUMANYA, Minister for Public Health in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Government of Japan yesterday signed a new agreement with UNICEF D.R.Congo to make available $2.95 million (¥ 281 million) in support of health programmes for the benefit of some 4.29 million children in the country. 
The contribution will be used to fund a number of life-saving health activities in 4 provinces: Bas Congo, Bandundu, North Kivu and Kinshasa and will consist of :
• Provision of vaccines for polio and measles immunization campaigns;
• Provision of vitamin A;
• Provision of Mebendazole de-worming tablets;
• Provision of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets to protect against malaria

His Excellency Kanji KITAZAWA, Ambassador of Japan to D.R .Congo underlined the commitment of his country                               to fight infectious diseases throughout DRC.

the commitment of his country to fight infectious diseases throughout DRC. He said “the lives of children are a veritable treasure for the nation and also constitute an essential element for development.  With this in mind, Japan attaches great importance to children’s health, working in close collaboration with our traditional development partner UNICEF, in the DRC.”                                                                                           
Mr. Eiro YONEZAKI, Resident Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) DRC Office, commented that “We have developed our interventions to correspond with the President’s priority sectors (5 Chantiers) such as Health, Security, Rural and Urban Development, Professional Education, Water Supply and Infrastructure since the establishment of our office in the DRC in 2007.  Considering the enormity of need for aid, JICA is will begin to expand its cooperation in the eastern regions, such as the North Kivu province.”
Acknowledging the importance of Japan’s continued support to health programmes in DRC, UNICEF Representative Pierrette VU THI said “This contribution is another tangible demonstration of Japan’s commitment to tackling preventable diseases in DRC, and it will help to give children the best chance of a healthy start to life and enhance progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.”   “The re-emergence of 8 polio cases in the last two years reminds us that we cannot afford to relax in the fight against infectious diseases,” she added.
During the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in 2008, organized by the government of Japan, in collaboration with the United Nations and UNDP, and in the presence of the 40 heads of state and governments, Japan announced a new initiative to double its development aid to Africa over a period of 5 years – till 2012, and grant US$1.8 billion to African countries in support their economic growth and development programmes.
Despite the positive results achieved with universal consumption of iodized salt, the absence of cretinism and the annual decrease in the numbers of measles cases, the  health indicators are still of concern, and D.R. Congo currently ranks 15  in the world for its under-five mortality rate (SOWCR 2009).

Sustained efforts are needed to improve the health and development of the children and improve the country’s chances of reaching the MDG’s targeted under-five mortality rate.
 “Consolidation of peace” is one of the main pillars of Japan’s foreign policy in Africa. It is, therefore, a basic principle of Japan’s assistance to D.R Congo; a country affected by poverty and armed conflicts.
For more information, please contact :
Joyce Brandful, UNICEF DRC, + 243 81 8846746 jbrandful@unicef.org,
Yuki Hirotani, Ambassade du Japon en RDC, +243 81 514 6605 yuki.hirotani@mofa.go.jp
Kazunao Shibata, Bureau de la JICA en RDC, +243 81 556 3530 Shibata.Kazunao@jica.go.jp



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