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Spouse of Japanese Foreign Minister Visits oPt

RAMALLAH, January 17 2005 - H.E. Ms. Junko Machimura, the spouse of the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited the Ministry of Health (MoH) today to meet with key officials and receive briefings on support extended by the Government of Japan.

Ms. Machimura's visit included a field visit to MOH Central Stores to witness the cold chain equipment – a key location for storage of all the vaccines and supplies for immunization of children in the West Bank.

The half-day visit included a stop to the MoH Public Health Laboratory to witness the sampling and testing of iodine deficiency disorders among Palestinian children – as well as the laboratory surveillance of the vaccine-preventable diseases and non-infectious diseases. She also carried out a field visit to the El Bireh maternal and child health clinic where she immunized Nour and Ali, a Palestinian girl and boy infant respectively, with the polio vaccine.

During her visit, she was met by Dr. Anan Masri, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Health and key ministry officials.

In remarks, Ms. Machimura thanked the Ministry of Health and UNICEF for this visit and stated that Japan will continue its support to Palestinian children and women.

The UNICEF Special Representative Dan Rohrmann added that the relationship between UNICEF and the Government of Japan dated back 50 years and is highly appreciated. It is cultivated at the field level in both development and crisis situations such as Palestine.

Mr. Rohrmann thanked the Government of Japan for their continued support and the Ministry of Health for their commitment toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals.  “Here in Palestine tremendous progress is taking place,” he said.

Dr. Masri thanked the Japanese Government as well as UNICEF and requested continuous support to MoH towards sustaining high immunization coverage for Palestinian children and women. “The Ministry of Health is proud of its relationship with UNICEF and the Government of Japan,” he said.

In October 2004, the Government of Japan donated US $2.6 million to UNICEF in support of the prevention of infectious diseases for Palestinian children and women in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) for the year 2005.



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