Saturday January 28, 2023

Japan provides $3.87m grants for polio eradication

By Our Correspondent
December 09, 2022

Islamabad : The government of Japan extended its support to the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme by providing more than $3.87 million as a grant.

The grant will be used for the procurement of essential oral polio vaccine, which will reach more than 18.61 million under five years old children in Pakistan living in endemic and outbreak districts. The notes of the grant were signed and exchanged between the Government of Japan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and UNICEF.

Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel and other dignitaries were present during the signing event. “Pakistan has come a long way in the last 30 years. From thousands of children paralysed by poliovirus in the 1980s and 1990s, we have managed to reduce the number of cases and affected communities drastically,” said Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel.

Referring to the commitment of the government to polio eradication, the minister said, “The programme has successfully restricted virus circulation to endemic districts in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa; we are committed and optimistic about eradicating polio by 2023.” The minister extended his sincere appreciation for the support of the government of Japan and its partners for their unwavering commitment to polio eradication.

The government of Japan has been supporting the polio eradication programme in Pakistan since 1996. The long-standing partnerships have helped to reach millions of children with life-saving vaccines over the years. The grant and loan contribution from the government of Japan to date has amounted to more than $238.66 million dollars to support the polio programme in Pakistan through UNICEF. Wada Mitsuhiro, ambassador of Japan commended the Government of Pakistan and UNICEF for their tireless efforts in emergency vaccination campaigns in southern KP and for establishing transit points in North Waziristan to limit the spread of the wild poliovirus.

He also reiterated his continuous support for eradicating poliovirus, by saying that “I would like to renew my commitment to achieving a polio-free world. Japan will continuously support the Government of Pakistan and UNICEF in this regard. I sincerely hope that the national and sub-national campaigns of the next year will be safe and successful.”