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Japan provides US$3.85 million to UNICEF for polio erradication in Pakistan

Ambassador or Japan, Seiji Kojima and UNICEF Representative, Terje Thodesen sign the agreement in presence of the Health Minister, M. Nasir Khan

Islamabad: December 15, 2006:  The Signing Ceremony and Exchange of Notes took place here today between the Government of Japan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) whereby Japan would provide US$ 3.85 million to continue its support to the National Polio Eradication Programme. Funds provided by the Government of Japan would be used to procure almost 28 million doses of oral polio vaccine during 2007 that constitutes 9.3% of the total requirement.

Federal Minister for Health, Mohammad Nasir Khan was present on the occasion to witness the ceremony while His Excellency, Mr. Seiji Kojima, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, and Mr. Terje Thodesen, UNICEF’s Acting Representative signed the agreement.

The Government of Japan has supported the Polio Eradication Programme in Pakistan since 1996. Total donations made so far by the Government of Japan come up to US$ 70 million US dollars, a sum which is a significant contribution towards reducing the number of polio cases in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohammad Nasir Khan said: “We are committed to eradicate polio and are working closely with the global community in this regard. The fight against polio is a marathon in which Pakistan is running the last lap. If every child is covered in the upcoming immunisation campaigns, we will be the next polio free country.”

Minister for Health, M. Nasir Khan speaking on the occassion.

In his remarks the Ambassador or Japan, H.E. Mr. Seiji Kojima said: “We are proud of our decade-long partnership with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health of the Government of Pakistan and our target is to bring to an end the transmission of the debilitating polio virus. This is certainly achievable through our continued collaboration and with the involvement and tireless assistance of the thousands of health workers, volunteers and community workers.”

Thanking the people and the Government of Japan, UNICEF’s Acting Representative, Mr. Terje Thodesen, expressed the confidence that with continued support from donors and partners, in which the Government of Japan is a forerunner, Pakistan is likely to succeed in eradicating polio in the near future. He said: “With the presence of a strong surveillance system, improved quality of polio campaigns, it looks more promising than ever that Pakistan will see its last polio case next year.”

UNICEF, along with other partners, has supported the Government of Pakistan in conducting National Polio Immunization Days since 1994. Till this date Pakistan has only 36 polio cases. UNICEF will continue to support the Government to conduct this health campaign over the coming years to ensure eradication of polio from Pakistan.



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