Islamabad, December 14, 2010
Mr. Takatoshi Nishikata of JICA exchanging documents with Mr. Daniel Toole of UNICEF.
The Signing Ceremony took place here today between the Government of Japan and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) whereby Japan would provide further funds of 395 million Yen equivalent to US$ 4.68 million to continue its support to the National Polio Eradication Programme. Funds provided by the Government of Japan would be used to procure oral polio vaccine during 2011.
The Federal Minister for Health, Mr. Makhdoom Shahabuddin was present on the occasion to witness the ceremony while His Excellency, Chihiro Atsumi, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and Mr. Daniel Toole, Regional Director for South Asia and Special Representative for Pakistan Flood Response, UNICEF Pakistan, signed the Exchange Notes. Mr. Takatoshi Nishikata, Chief Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Mr. Daniel Toole signed the Grant Agreement for the release of funds for the said purpose.
The Government of Japan has supported the Polio Eradication Programme in Pakistan since 1996. Total contribution made so far by the Government of Japan comes up to US$ 86.86 million, a sum which is a significant contribution towards reducing the number of polio cases in Pakistan. For the past 14 years, Japan's support has been instrumental in ensuring that sufficient quantities of vaccine are in place and to ensure a sustained cold chain to protect the potency of the vaccine.
JICA has also been involved in UNICEF, along with other partners, continues to provide technical assistance to the Government of Pakistan to support polio eradication activities. Since the programme was launched in 1994, the number of cases has been reduced from more than 30,000 in 1994 down to 126 in 2010. Global experts have reinforced that Pakistan's polio programme is the strongest ever and that polio can be eradicated if there is commitment at all levels to overcome the remaining operational challenges.