—Photo (File) Reuters
—Photo (File) Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The Government of Japan has extended a grant of 226 million Japanese Yen (approximately US$2.62 million) to Pakistan through UNICEF for supporting the polio eradication programme in Pakistan.

About US $2 million out of the total grant will cover the procurement of approximately 13 million doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV), and the rest will meet the cost of social mobilization activities, says a statement issued by the Japanese Embassy in Islamabad on Monday.

The notes to this effect were signed and exchanged between Mr. Akira Kono, Chargé d'Affaires of Japan to Pakistan and Ms. Karen Allen, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Pakistan. Mr. Faridullah Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination was also present to witness the signing.

The Government of Japan has focused on polio eradication as a global challenge on public health of the human race.

Since 1996, Japan has provided grant assistance for polio eradication every year through UNICEF and these efforts have accumulated to approximately US$91 million after including today's signing. In addition to that, in 2011, Japan renewed its commitment to this endeavor by providing a soft loan of approximately US$65 million in order to make Pakistan a “polio-free” country.

In his remarks at the signing ceremony, Kono said “Japan's commitment and strong partnership with polio infected countries as well as development partners will continue until the day of complete eradication of polio from the world.”

Kono took the opportunity of the signing to renew Japan's sincere gratitude to the international community including Pakistan for support to Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami which took place on March 11, 2011, exactly two years ago.

Today's signing, according to Kono, showed how Japan has continued its commitment to socio-economic well-being in the world despite the challenging situation in Japan.

Furthermore, he expressed his hope that this grant assistance will contribute to strengthen the existing friendly relation between the people of Japan and Pakistan.

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