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Press release

More children will be vaccinated in Haiti thanks to a donation from Japan

Port-au-Prince, 22 November 2005- The Government of Japan has donated to UNICEF US$ 1,8 million to support the Extended Programme of Immunization (EPI) in Haiti. Exchange of Notes was signed in Port-au-Prince between the Chargé d’Affaires ai of Japan and UNICEF Representative. The ceremony was presided by the Minister of Health of the Government of Haiti and was attended by other partners in EPI including Ambassadors of Spain and Brazil in Haiti, representatives of USAID, French Cooperation and PAHO/WHO. This is a second donation from Japan after an amount of 2,2 millions granted last year to support the same Programme.

The money will be used to buy vaccines and equipment needed to help in routine vaccination activities. Provision and maintenance of the cold chain as well as transport and distribution of vaccines and accessories to health facilities throughout the country will be covered until December 2007.

This donation represents a tremendous contribution to the health of children in Haiti, especially the most vulnerable ones, explained Adriano Gonzalez-Regueral, UNICEF Representative in Haiti. “Only 45 percent of the population has access to drinking water and merely 10% has access to electricity with coverage limited to the capital city Port-au-Prince. Chronic malnutrition with severe or moderate stunting affects 42 percent of children under five. Insalubrity, contaminated water and malnutrition make children even more vulnerable to diseases such as polio, measles, diphtheria and tetanus. Vaccination is one of the best means to insure that children do not die of these preventable diseases. We are very grateful to the Government and the people of Japan for this much needed donation. But, actors at all levels need to make an effort in order to insure that thousands of children in some urban areas have access to vaccination. In those areas health services have been seriously disturbed or interrupted because of violence and insecurity”.

This cooperation is essential for Haiti because it has to do with children who represent the future of the country”, said Masato Futaishi, Chargé d’Affaires ai of Japan in Haiti. “The Ministry of Health needs cooperation from all its international partners. UNICEF is doing a very important work in Haiti in improving health of children and mothers as well as in promoting their rights”. 

Haiti has the lowest indicators of human development in the Region of Latin American and the Caribbean. Diarrhea, malnutrition, respiratory infections are the main causes of death for children under five. Coverage in electricity is very low and Haiti doesn’t have high tension interconnections between big cities and other areas. Not only vaccines have to be available, but they still have to reach all children in a proper condition, including those poorest children living in the most remote areas. Only 32 percent under 5 children in Haiti are immunized and more than 12 percent have never received one dose of vaccine.

For more information, please contact:

Grégory Médor, Assistant to the Cooperation Unit,
Japan Embassy in Port-au-Prince,
Tel : 245 3333. E-mail : japaneco@hainet.net

Sylvana Nzirorera, UNICEF Haiti Communication Officer.
Tel : 245 3525. E-mail : snzirorera@unicef.org




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