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January 28, 2021

Japan provides $4.57m grant for procurement of polio vaccine doses

National

January 28, 2021

Islamabad: The Government of Japan Wednesday provided a grant of US $4.57 million for procurement of 23.66 million doses of oral polio vaccine as part of its support to Pakistan’s polio eradication interventions during 2021.

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. The grant will allow the polio programme to reach under 5 years-old children living in districts with persistent poliovirus transmission.

Pakistan is facing a challenging situation in polio eradication; 84 polio cases (as of January 19, 2021) have been reported including 26 from Balochistan, 22 each from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, and 14 from Punjab. The Polio programme suspended vaccination activities from March to mid-July 2020 due to COVID-19, but services resumed after mid-July to get vaccines to children countrywide. “Polio eradication is a top priority of the government. We are grateful to the people and the Government of Japan for their generous support and am confident that we will reach the milestone of polio-free Pakistan and world,” said Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services. Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan Matsuda Kuninori paid tribute to frontline polio workers engaged in vaccination amid the prevailing risk of COVID-19. He added, “Japan remains committed to assisting the people of Pakistan, together with UNICEF, in their goal of eradicating polio.”“With this grant aid, JICA will assist vaccine procurement for children living in high-risk areas through UNICEF. The road towards polio eradication might be rough and steep. However, we will fight together for the earliest realization of polio-free Pakistan,” said Shigeki Furuta, JICA Chief Representative.