Japan Provides $13 Million to eradicate polio in Afghanistan

The Government of Japan has provided $ 13 Million to strengthen the efforts in eradicating of polio and prevent the spread of other vaccine preventable diseases in Afghanistan.

The Government of Japan, one of the biggest international donors of Afghanistan, has pledged to continue and strengthen its support toward the development of the country and improvement   of Afghan children and women’s health.

The financial document of the government of Japan on Tuesday afternoon was signed between Ambassador of Japan Mr. Hiroshi Takahashi and Mr. Peter Crowley, Representative of UNICEF to Afghanistan in the presence of Afghan Public Health Minister Dr. Suraya Dalil at Indira Gandhi Children Hospital here in Kabul.

The agreement spans a period of 12 months, and will be implemented in coordination with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The Ambassador of Japan noted that the Government of Japan has consistently supported efforts to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in Afghanistan, especially polio.

“We are closer today than ever before to eradication of polio from Afghanistan and the world. But if we are to be successful, we must work closer together than ever before and continuously strengthen our efforts for this final push towards total eradication”, said Mr. Takahashi.

The Government of Japan is very pleased to have the opportunity to support these efforts, led by the Ministry of Public Health, to build a healthier and more peaceful Afghanistan,” the Ambassador added.

Expressing thanks on behalf of the Government and people of Afghanistan, Dr. Suraya Dalil, Minister of Public Health said, “It is not acceptable that Afghan children die or become disabled because of preventable diseases. It is the responsibility of every one of us to do whatever we can to support these life-saving efforts.

 

“The Government and people of Japan are among the largest donors to health development initiatives in Afghanistan, and we are extremely grateful for their generosity and their sustained commitment in improving and saving lives in this country”, said the Minister.

The project aims to reduce child mortality through increased Routine Immunization coverage. It will also support measles control efforts and be a major contribution to global polio eradication efforts, with the ultimate goal of halting the circulation of the polio virus in Afghanistan.

Receiving the grant on behalf of UNICEF, Peter Crowley, UNICEF Representative to Afghanistan, highlighted the importance of Routine Immunization adding “In order to eradicate polio from Afghanistan, we need polio immunization campaigns such as National Immunization Days”.

He said, “to make sure Afghanistan stays polio-free, however, we need to make sure that polio vaccination takes place consistently and across the country, through strengthened and expanded Routine Immunization programs and the Government of Japan recognized this need and the very significant contribution they are making today to these efforts to prevent the spread of infectious diseases”.

Polio is among the very few diseases that afflict humans but that can be eradicated. For more than two decades, governments and people across the world have been working together to end polio transmission once and for all.

Since 1988 the prevalence of polio has decreased by more than 99 per cent globally, and today the disease remains endemic in only three countries; in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

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