RAMALLAH, 4 March 2018 – The Government of Japan has just donated USD $4.5 million in support of UNICEF’s interventions to improve neonatal services, early detection of disabilities and developmental delays for Palestinian children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Mr. Takeshi Okubo, Ambassador for Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine, expressed his gratitude to all partners for their cooperation to support Palestinian children, including UNICEF, JICA, the Government of Palestine, namely MoH, MoEHE, and MoSD and others. “This project comes as a continuation to the accumulated knowledge and the experience gained from the past years’ efforts of all partners to alleviate the daily struggle of the children with special needs through improving and developing quality services in Palestine”, he said. “Japan has recently committed to providing a new package of assistance to the Palestinians in 2018 amounting to USD 40,209,061 mainly through international organizations including UNICEF, which is one of the Japan’s most trusted and respected partners”, he added. The new contribution will enable UNICEF and its partners to improve the quality of neonatal services, build systems to help support the early detection of disabilities and developmental delays, and reduce the stigma towards children with disabilities. It will benefit more than 14,000 children below eight years of age as well as 20,000 parents and community members, and up to 1,000 health and education professionals or social workers.
“UNICEF is deeply grateful to the People and the Government of Japan for their enduring commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable Palestinian children,” said Genevieve Boutin, UNICEF State of Palestine Special Representative. “By focusing on the early years of a child’s life, this donation will have a profound and ever-lasting impact on Palestinian children’s future.”
Using a focused multi-sectoral approach, the programme will equip neonatal units in eight governmental hospitals and develop the capacity of health care providers in supporting quality neonatal home care services. It will also help strengthen national systems by supporting the revision of the national disability law in line with international human rights treaties, and it will strengthen the capacity of early childhood care professionals in the field of early detection of disabilities and developmental delays. Given the important relationship between malnutrition and impaired child development, the programme will help build gender sensitive and disability-friendly water, sanitation and hygiene facilities within health centres. The donation will also help reduce the stigma towards children with disabilities and improve the awareness of caregivers and communities on how to best support them.
Japan has continuously supported UNICEF’s work for Palestinian children since 1993 by providing USD $78 million in donations, including grants for emergency relief work during rounds of armed conflict. Japan is among UNICEF’s top five government donors globally.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.