The Japanese government on Monday announced it will provide $4.6 million in grant-aid to Pakistan to support the supply of essential polio vaccine for the campaigns during the 2018-19 low transmission season of the poliovirus.
The agreement for the grant was signed in Islamabad between the Government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).
The grant will support the procurement of 25 million doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV), sufficient to vaccinate children under the age of five in the high-risk districts across Pakistan. It will also enable the programme to quickly close the immunity gaps.
Acknowledging the commitment by the Japanese government, Prime Minister's Focal Person on Polio Eradication Babar Bin Atta said the government and people of Japan stood by Pakistan over the years even during difficult times. He said Pakistan’s polio eradication programme is today rated among the best public health service delivery initiatives across the globe.
“We are proud of our achievements so far and are keen to achieve our goal of interrupting the poliovirus during this critical low season. I want to thank the government and people of Japan and all partners whose support has been critical over the years to bring us to where we are today,” he said.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister for National Health Services (NHS) Aamer Mehmood Kiani said the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan is resolutely committed to eliminating polio. He said polio eradication is a top priority of his ministry and "no effort will be spared in attaining the goal of a polio-free Pakistan".
Japanese Ambassador Takashi Kurai said: “Polio is indeed a global challenge for public health but this crippling disease is preventable by vaccination. Japan continues to support polio eradication in Pakistan and I do hope that very soon, we will achieve the long-cherished goal of complete eradication of this disease from Pakistan.”