Japan provides 520 million Yen to assist Pakistan’s efforts for polio eradication

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 18 (APP):Government of Japan Wednesday announced a grant of 520 million Yen to support supply of the essential polio vaccine for the case response and mop up vaccination campaigns during the 2017-18 low transmission season of the polio virus.
According a statement issued here, grant notes were signed and exchanged today between the Government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The grant worth US$ 4.63 million will support the procurement of over 28 million doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV); sufficient to vaccinate 25 million children under the age of five in the high risk districts across Pakistan enabling the programme to quickly close the immunity gaps.
Acknowledging the commitment by the Government of Japan, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication,Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, said “Over the years, the government and people of Japan have stood by us even during the difficult times. Pakistan’s programme is today rated among one of the best public health service delivery initiative across the globe. We are proud of our achievements so far and are keen to achieve our goal of interrupting the polio virus during this critical low season. With five cases at this point in 2017, our programme has never been in a better place to do so.”
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Naveed Kamran Balouch, Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services Regulation and Coordination said “The steady support of the Government of Japan and other partners and the seamless working together has been a crucial element of our successes in last two years. Defeating polio through the collective approach motivates us to achieving broader health priorities and development milestones for the children and people of Pakistan.”
H.E. Takashi Kurai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Pakistan said: “Polio is indeed a global challenge for public health but this crippling disease is preventable by vaccination. Japan continues to support polio vaccination in Pakistan and I do hope that every child is surely vaccinated and very soon, we will achieve the long cherished goal of complete eradication of this disease from Pakistan.”
Yasuhiro Tojo, Chief Representative, JICA in Pakistan said “the determination of Pakistan to wipe out the polio virus can be clearly seen in the record low number of cases. We are glad to be part of this admirable effort and hope that our support to procure additional oral polio vaccine will accelerate the country’s pace towards achieving this milestone.”
Ms. Cristian Munduate, Acting Country Representative of UNICEF Pakistan said “the new grant comes at a time when the country is making headway towards stopping polio virus circulation I am confident that with the sustained commitment from the Government of Pakistan and strong support from all partners, together we will defeat the virus during this low transmission season.”
Pakistan is making significant progress in the fight against polio as only five cases have been recorded so far this year compared to 16 by this time in 2016. The purpose of multiple vaccinations is to fully protect each individual child and to contribute to the protection of every child within the community by building and maintaining high population immunity to stop transmission of the wild polio virus.
Government of Japan has been supporting the Polio Eradication Initiative in Pakistan since 1996. Approximately JPY 24 billion (US$ 218.35 million) has been funded including this grant of JPY 520 million, for procurement of oral polio vaccine (OPV), inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and cold chain equipment to strengthen vaccine management.