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Press Release

March 26, 2012

Government of Japan gives grant to UNICEF for Polio free India

PhotoShaking hands after Signatory Ceremony
left (Mr. Shinichi YAMANAKA, Chief Representative of JICA India)
middle (H.E. Ambassador Akitaka SAIKI)
right (Ms. Karin HULSHOF, Representative, UNICEF India)

The grant to be routed through JICA

New Delhi, March 26, 2012: Recently India was declared to be a non-Polio-endemic county but now greater vigilance is required as there are risks of this epidemic reviving back. So in further display of its continuous objective of keeping India Polio free, the government of Japan, today signed an agreement with UNICEF to provide a grant aid of 120 million yen (`72.48m) for the project of eradication of poliomyelitis from India. The Exchange of Note to this affect happened between H.E. Mr. Akitaka Saiki, Ambassador of Japan to India, and Ms. Karin Hulshof, Representative of UNICEF for transferring of the fund through JICA.

Following the Exchange of Note, the Grant Agreement to this effect was signed here in Delhi at the Japanese Embassy by Mr. Shinichi Yamanaka, Chief Representative of JICA India (Japan International Cooperation Agency, The official donor agency of Government of Japan) and Ms. Karin Hulshof, Representative of UNICEF, India Country Office. From the year 1996 the Japanese Government has so far given grant worth 8,331 million Yen (`5.03 billion) to UNICEF for polio eradication Programmes in India.

The grant aid for this year would be utilised to procure approximately 8 million doses of Polio Vaccine and its vaccine campaigns in West Bengal, as well as support for the Government's initiative for Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP). For the year 2012, on top of Nationwide routine immunization, 239 high risk districts and migrant population, as well as urban/pre-urban population are areas of special focus for polio immunisation with emphasis on states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand and North East states like West Bengal. The funds would be dispersed by UNICEF on the recommendation of India Expert Advisory Board on Polio Eradication and Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The foremost objective of this year grant is smooth, effective and 100% coverage of polio vaccination campaign for children under 5 in West Bengal, which is expected to contribute to no Wild Polio Virus case in North East States and ultimately for zero polio case for 2012, and as a result lead to meeting of long term objective of reduction of under-5 mortality rate in India.

Speaking after signing the Grant Agreement Mr. Shinichi Yamanaka, Chief Representative, JICA India said, "There is no cure for Polio but it can be prevented by administration of regular dosage to children under 5 years of age. Japan remains committed for this year to keeping India polio free and I congratulate the Government of India, UNICEF, WHO and all dedicated partners and stakeholders on the tremendous achievement of Global Polio Eradication Progress and wish all the best to the Government of India for their massive and collective efforts to maintain Polio-free India".

PhotoSpeech by the Government of India:
left (Dr. Monir ISLAM, Director-Family Health Research of WHO/SEARO);
middle (Dr. Nata Menabde, Representative, WHO India);
right (Dr. Ajay Khera, Deputy Commissioner Immunization)

The present status of Polio in India

Since 1995, with support from Global/national partners and donors, the Government of India has been implementing National Immunisation Campaigns to vaccinate all under 5 children in the country. As a result, the polio cases in India reduced dramatically from 5,881 cases in 1994 to 741 cases in 2009 (46% of the world polio cases). The number of the polio cases reduced further: 42 cases in 2010 (4% of the world polio cases) and 1 case in 2011. Having the last case of Polio in India on 13th January 2011, India has made significant progress in its journey towards polio eradication; India completed one year without Polio case in January 2012. During Polio Summit 2012, WHO declared India to be taken out from the list of Polio Endemic Countries. However this does not mean that war against Polio has been won as size of India's population will always present risks and in addition neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to report cases of Wild Polio.

Role of JICA and the government of Japan in eradication of Polio from India

Government of Japan is part of Global Polio Eradication Coalition and is supporting the Global Polio Eradication Initiative since the launch of Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) at the World Health Assembly in 1988. The Government of Japan is one of Polio eradication's major donors, along with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CDC, CIDA, KfW, Rotary and World Bank. Since 1996, the Government of Japan has provided grant aid for UNICEF to support to the Government of India's campaign to eradicate polio from the country. Also, JICA has supported Government of India's several initiatives to fight against Polio and essential issues revolving around Polio, such as improvement of water and sanitation conditions in major Indian cities.

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