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Japan boosts child survival in Nigeria with $8 million grant

Contribution targets Polio eradication, malaria prevention and routine immunization

ABUJA, 20 June 2008 - UNICEF today received a grant of N940 Million (US $ 8.04 million) from the Government of Japan for child survival programmes in Nigeria. The grant is for polio eradication, routine immunization and the prevention of malaria.

It is estimated that one out of every five Nigerian children will die before their fifth birthday. Malaria alone is responsible for one quarter of these deaths while vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus or diphtheria are also among the major causes of child mortality. This very high level of child mortality can be reduced by simple, affordable interventions such as immunization and the use of insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria. Nigeria also remains one of the only four countries in the world that has not yet interrupted indigenous wild poliovirus transmission, and accounts for 92  per cent of  all cases in Africa currently.

“With this donation, the government and people of Japan have once again renewed their commitment to child survival in Nigeria. This large donation will contribute immensely to Nigeria’s drive towards achieving the health Millennium Development Goals by 2015,”, said Dr. Robert Limlim, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. “It is timely too with the current resurgence of wild polio virus in Nigeria and the fight to interrupt its transmission this year.”

This year’s contribution from the Government of Japan will be used for the procurement of polio vaccines, child survival supplies such as oral rehydration sachets, deworming tablets for children aged one to five years and malaria prevention drugs for pregnant women. In addition, 159,300 lLong Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN) will be procured for malaria control. This will complement the 521,500 Long Lasting Insecticide Nets already procured in the last two years with funding from the Government of Japan.

These nets will be distributed to the most deprived and hard to reach families in communities as well as pregnant women attending ante-natal care and children who will have completed their scheduled vaccinations as an incentive to boost immunization.

Since 2000, the Government of Japan has contributed about N5 Billion (US $44.24 Million) for the prevention of infectious diseases in Nigeria through UNICEF/Federal Government of Nigeria Programme of Cooperation.

“I earnestly hope that this project will foster the welfare of Nigerian children” said, H.E. Mr Toshitsugu Uesawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria. “I expect Nigerians to take action to accomplish the Millennium Development Goals. As long as Nigeria maintains its ownership, Japan will be together with Nigerian people as a partner and a friend.”

The Exchange of Notes between H.E. Mr. Toshitsugu Uesawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, and Dr. Robert Limlim, UNICEF Representative ai, took place today at the UN House in the presence of Dr. Shehu Sule, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information, and Mr. Kuniaki Amatsu, Deputy Country Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 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 further information, please contact:
• Geoffrey Njoku, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Nigeria; Tel: 08035250288 or 09-461 6403 E-mail: gnjoku@unicef.org
• Mr. Yutaka Hayashi, Attache (Economic Cooperation), Embassy of Japan in Nigeria, Tel: 0803-408-0775 or 09-413-8898, 9718 or 09-461-3289, 3290




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