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Japan backs UNICEF child survival programme in Nigeria

Abuja, 19 August 2005. Immunization activities and malaria prevention in Nigeria received a boost today, as the Government of Japan donated N 690 Million (US $ 5.2 Million) to UNICEF under the project for Infectious Diseases Prevention for Children in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Exchange of Notes between H.E. Mr Akio Tanaka, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, and Dr Barbara Reynolds, UNICEF Representative a.i., took place at a ceremony at the Abuja National Strategic Cold Store in the presence of Dr Eyitayo Lambo, Hon. Minister of Health, Dr Dere Awosika, National Coordinator of the National Programme on Immunisation and Polio Plus partners.

In Nigeria, one in five children dies before the fifth birthday.  Malaria and vaccine preventable diseases (measles, tetanus, tuberculosis, polio, pertussis, diphtheria, yellow fever, hepatitis B) are among the major causes of the death of these children.  In addition, each year, thousands of Nigerians miss work and school because of malaria. 

The donation is opportune as Nigeria continues efforts to interrupt the transmission of polio before the end of the year and to conduct a major measles immunization campaign in December 2005. This contribution from the Government of Japan will be used for polio and measles vaccines, equipment for immunization activities, Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets and necessary technical support.

Equipment to be purchased include 200 ice-lined freezers, 40 refrigerators, 250 cold boxes and 500 vaccines carriers. This will help ensure that the vaccines are preserved until they administered to the child. 

A total of 300,000 Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets will be distributed to families with pregnant women and children under five in the most disadvantaged communities in 182 LGAs. The Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Net is a new generation of mosquito nets, which has been developed in response to low re-treatment rates of conventional insecticide-treated mosquito nets, especially in Africa. A Long Lasting Net is a pre-treated mosquito net, which does not require any further treatment during its expected life span of 4 to 5 years.

In the past five years, Japan has been one of the major donors for the polio eradication campaign and immunization activities, funding millions of polio vaccines as well as immunization equipment. Since 2000, the Government of Japan has contributed N 2.87 billion (US $ 21.8 Million) for the prevention of infectious diseases in Nigeria through UNICEF. Today’s donation is on this track and aiming at expanding its constant support for polio prevention in Nigeria.

“The funds given by the Government of Japan will help us to save the lives of thousands of children”, said Barbara Reynolds, UNICEF Representative a.i.  “Every child has the right to a healthy start in life. Unfortunately in Nigeria, many do not even survive their first year because they have not been immunized or did not get adequate protection against malaria.”

“Primary Health care is one of the key areas in Japan’s assistance to Nigeria, said Akio Tanaka, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria. “Recently, the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi proposed the ‘Health and Development’ initiative to provide comprehensive assistance amounting to US $ 5 billion over the next five years with African people being major beneficiaries. I hope this donation and further assistance by the new initiative will contribute to save more children in Nigeria.”

For media enquiries, please contact:

Christine Jaulmes, Chief, Communication and External Relations,
UNICEF Nigeria
Tel: 0803 40 70 879 or 09-461 8734
E-mail: cjaulmes@unicef.org

Shintaro Kitagawa, First Secretary at the Embassy of Japan
Tel: 09- 413 8898





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