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Government of Japan makes renewed investment in child health in the north of Sudan

US$4.5 million grant to benefit over three million people through support to key health programmes

KHARTOUM, 21 August 2006 -  The Government of Japan is contributing a further $US 4.5 million (¥ 517 million) to support child and maternal health programmes in northern Sudan, including the Darfur region, through a partnership with the Sudanese Government of National Unity and UNICEF. The grant will help provide a range of health services, including essential immunization, malaria prevention and training of health workers, ultimately improving the health of some 3.5 million people, including 700,000 children and 400,000 pregnant women.

Child health indicators in Sudan are cause for considerable concern, with hundreds of children under the age of five estimated to die every day in the north of the country alone, mostly due to preventable diseases. Less than half the population countrywide has access to health services. UNICEF also estimates that there are some seven million cases of malaria in Sudan every year. 

The Japanese grant will help provide life-saving vaccines, as well as vaccination equipment for health centres, Long Lasting Insecticide-Treated Nets to prevent malaria amongst 600,000 children and their mothers, and essential malaria treatment for some 350,000 people. The funds will also assist the training of local health workers in diagnostic skills, and support public information activities on disease prevention amongst local communities. The new grant will support programmes in ten northern states and the Abyei area.

The Sudanese Government of National Unity, UNICEF and other partners are working together to reduce mortality rates in the north of Sudan in line with the Millennium Development Goal of reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds by the year 2015. The government and people of Japan have already contributed over $US 10 million to UNICEF in Sudan in 2006 alone, in addition to providing US $14.5 million in 2005 for a range of projects in the health, education, water and sanitation sectors.

The new contribution will be formally announced at a special signing ceremony on Wednesday 23 August starting at 10:45 a.m. at the Embassy of Japan in Khartoum.

The ceremony will be attended by His Excellency Masayuki Makiya., Ambassador of Japan, UNICEF Representative Ted Chaiban, Presidential Advisor His Excellency Dr. Ahmed Bilal Osman, Minister of Health Her Excellency Dr. Tabitha Shokaya and other senior officials of the Sudanese Government of National Unity, as well as representatives of the United Nations and Rotary International.

Media are welcome to attend. Journalists should ensure they carry their official media accreditation/identification in order to gain access to the Embassy.

For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:
Edward Carwardine, Senior Communication Officer, UNICEF Sudan: Mobile: +249 (0)912 177 291, ecarwardine@unicef.org




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