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Japanese support for polio eradication and malaria prevention in Nigeria

ABUJA, 23 August  2005 - The Government of Japan donated US $4.2 million (JPY 495 million) to UNICEF today to support polio immunization and malaria prevention in Nigeria. The country accounts for nearly 70 per cent of the world’s polio cases and over 400,000 Nigerian children die each year as a result of malaria, the leading killer of children in Africa. Around 20 per cent of children die before their fifth birthday.
The announcement was made by H.E. Mr Akio Tanaka, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria and Ayalew Abai, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, at the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja in the presence of Pr Eyitayo Lambo, Hon. Minister of Health and Dr. Edugie Abebe, National Coordinator of the National Programme on Immunization.

“We are at a critical stage in our fight against polio in Nigeria as this country is now the last polio endemic country in Africa,” said Ayalew Abai, UNICEF Representative. “We must win this battle in order to eradicate polio from Nigeria and from the rest of  Africa. These funds are timely as they will certainly contribute to the successful implementation of the new Government strategy, which offers the polio vaccine together with other essential vaccines for children under five.”

The Japanese contribution will also be used to procure more than 315,000 Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs) for pregnant women and  young children. These long-lasting, ready-to-use, pre-treated mosquito nets require no further treatment during their expected life span of three to five years. The nets will be distributed in the most hard to reach and deprived Local Government Areas targeted by the joint UNICEF-Government of Nigeria programme.

“The Japanese Government is committed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly Goals 4 and 5: the reduction of child mortality and the improvement of maternal health,” said H.E. Mr Akio Tanaka, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria at the ceremony. “Through cooperation with UNICEF, we will contribute to saving the lives of thousands of Nigerian children.”

In past years, Japan has been one of the major donors for polio eradication in countries such as Egypt, India or Pakistan, funding millions of polio vaccines as well as immunization equipment. Since 2000, the Government of Japan has contributed US $27 million for the prevention of infectious diseases in Nigeria through UNICEF.

The Government of Japan has also made a generous contribution to UNICEF Nigeria for the prevention of Avian Influenza. The US $1 million, received by UNICEF in March, is now being used to ensure that women and children know how to protect themselves and their birds against the virus.


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:

Christine JAULMES, UNICEF Communication Officer: Tel: 08034020879, cjaulmes@unicef.org

Shintaro KITAGAWA, First Secretary (Economic Cooperation), Embassy of Japan in Nigeria:
Tel: 09-413-8898, 9258, 9718, 9719




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