Health

Japan, Unicef to support polio eradication in Pakistan

polio_japan

ISLAMABAD: The Japanese government, Japan International Cooperation Agency and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have signed an agreement to support polio eradication in Pakistan. 

The agreement will grant Japanese Yen 404 million (US$ 4 million) for “the Project for the Control and Eradication of Poliomyelitis” which will provide 3.9 million doses of the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) and associated items, which is sufficient to vaccinate 3.3 million children between 4 to 23 months of age in the highest risk districts of the polio virus in Pakistan.

Prime Minister Focal Person for Polio Eradication Ayesha Raza Farooq, while speaking at the signing ceremony in Islamabad, lauded the efforts of the Japanese government to eradicate polio from Pakistan.

“The current polio virus picture for Pakistan is the best ever seen. We are most definitely at a crossroad now – we are close but we will need everyone’s commitment to reach our goal. I take this opportunity to extend the appreciation and gratitude to Government of Japan for its unwavering support to Pakistan’s effort to reach every missed child, and to end polio forever”.

Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan Takashi Kurai was optimistic about headway in polio control and said use of IPV vaccination in polio eradication campaigns will help to control polio virus in Pakistan.

JICA Chief Representative in Pakistan Yasuhiro Tojo said real progress has been made in reducing the number of new infections in Pakistan.

“There has been real progress in reducing the number of new infections in Pakistan. Now is the time to make the final push to eradicate polio. We hope this investment will ensure future generations will no longer have their lives blighted by this crippling disease”

Deputy Representative of UNICEF Cristian Munduate said Pakistan is making significant progress in the fight against polio. She said that Japan is a time-honoured of the children and thanked the government and people of Japan for their generous contribution  to Pakistan Polio Programme.

Pakistan has made significant progress in the fight against polio. Last year, Pakistan achieved an 82% reduction in the number of children paralyzed by polio down to 54 cases compared to 306 in 2014.
During the current year Pakistan has shown further improvement by bringing down the number of cases from 45 in November 2015 to 18 so far in 2016.

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