Japan provides additional $4.43m for extension of Sindh’s maternal, child healthcare facilities

Published April 4, 2024
Ambassador Wada Mitsuhiro and Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs Dr Kazim Niaz at an event for the announcement of an additional grant for a healthcare project in Sindh, Islamabad, April 4. — Photo courtesy Japanese Embassy
Ambassador Wada Mitsuhiro and Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs Dr Kazim Niaz at an event for the announcement of an additional grant for a healthcare project in Sindh, Islamabad, April 4. — Photo courtesy Japanese Embassy

The Japanese government on Thursday announced an additional grant of approximately $4.43 million for a project pertaining to extending maternal and child healthcare facilities in Sindh.

According to a press release from the Japanese embassy, the additional grant was for the “Project for the Extension of Maternal and Child Healthcare Facility in Sindh” which was initially announced in August 2021 at an original cost of about $22.76m.

Under the project, a new maternal and child health centre will be established at the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS) Jamshoro, the statement said.

“The maternal and child health centre is expected to have departments for obstetrics and paediatrics, including a labour room, an obstetrics ward, a neonatal intensive care unit, a maternal and fetal intensive care unit, a laboratory, and outpatient consultation rooms.

“Additionally, around 120 pieces of medical equipment, including newborn incubators and ultrasonic diagnostic devices, will be installed. The project is scheduled to be completed by April 2025,” the statement said.

It added that the number of care facilities to treat mothers and babies with complications was limited in Sindh and the project would alleviate the pressure on tertiary hospitals in Karachi and Hyderabad. It would also “open up opportunities” for families from all over southern Sindh with improved accessibility and better chances of survival, it said.

The press release said notes for the additional grant were signed and exchanged between Japanese Ambassador Wada Mitsuhiro and Economic Affairs Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz.

It added that amended grant agreements of the project were also signed and exchanged between the Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Pakistan Naoaki Miyata and Economic Affairs Joint Secretary Saeed Ashraf Siddiqui.

“The decision to provide the additional grant is in response to a request made by the Pakistani government due to a shortfall in the project cost, caused by exchange rate fluctuations and market price escalation.”

The Japanese ambassador said that the project aimed to benefit over 20m people, adding that considering the total project cost of $27.19m and the beneficiary population, it was one of the “largest grant projects implemented by Japan in the world”.

He added that upon completion in April 2025, “the project will be one of the symbols of Japan’s development assistance to Pakistan, along with PIMS (Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences) in Islamabad.”

Japan provides additional support for weather surveillance radar in Sukkur

A separate press release said that Japan also decided to provide an additional grant of around $5.5m for the “Project for Installation of Weather Surveillance Radar in Sukkur”, which was initially announced in January 2021 with an original cost of approximately $13.12m.

It added that this additional grant was also in response to a request made by the government due to a shortfall in the project cost caused by market price escalation.

The press release said that Pakistan had a high frequency of natural disasters, such as floods, landslides, cyclones, and earthquakes. Quite notably, Pakistan experiences heavy damage to large parts of the country every year due to floods triggered by heavy rains during the monsoon season, it added.

The statement further said that apart from the grant, staff of the Pakistan Meteorological Department would also be trained through a technical cooperation project to improve the department’s capacity for meteorological observation, forecasting, disseminating meteorological information and contributing to the reduction of damage from natural disasters by utilising essential information with disaster-related stakeholders such as the National Disaster Management Authority and Federal Flood Commission

“We have already supported the Islamabad, Karachi, and Multan radars. After the installation of the Sukkur radar, the radars supported by JICA will cover almost 90 per cent of areas in Pakistan,” the press release said.

It added that the Japanese government and JICA would continue the assistance to enhance Pakistan’s disaster risk management initiatives.

“Accurate weather forecasts provided by these radars will help people to prepare for heavy rains and reduce the personal and economic damage caused by floods in the future. This project is in line with the spirit and policy of flood recovery expressed by Pakistan at the Geneva conference in January last year,” the press release quoted the ambassador as saying.

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