Ja­pan re­news com­mit­ment to bring Pak­istan closer to be­com­ing po­lio free

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

The Govern­ment of Ja­pan, Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (JICA) and the United Na­tions Chil­dren's Fund (UNICEF) signed an agree­ment of 360,000,000 Ja­panese Yen (US$ 2,981,554) worth grant to­day to sup­port in­ter­rup­tion of the wild po­lio virus in Pak­istan.

The grant will help pro­cure­ment of 16,078,990 doses of the Oral Po­lio Vac­cine (OPV); suf­fi­cient to vac­ci­nate 14,356,241 chil­dren un­der the age of five in ten mop-up cam­paigns dur­ing 2016. Sen­a­tor Aye­sha Raza Fa­rooq, Prime Min­is­ter Fo­cal Per­son for Po­lio Eradication, ap­plauded the grant say- ing: "The Govern­ment of Ja­pan has been con­sis­tently help­ing chil­dren in Pak­istan. Th­ese funds come at a crit­i­cal junc­ture as the virus is cor­nered in just three re­main­ing sanc­tu­ar­ies - the Khy­ber-Pe­shawar cor­ri­dor, Karachi and the Quetta block.

"A de­ter­mined fo­cus on de­liv­er­ing high qual­ity cam­paigns for the re­main­der of the low sea­son and find­ing ev­ery missed child is crit­i­cal to en­sure the virus can­not sur­vive and spread", adds Sen­a­tor Fa­rooq.

At the sign­ing cer­e­mony, Mr. Junya Mat­suura, Charge d'Af­faires ad in­terim of Ja­pan to Pak­istan ex­pressed his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the sig­nif­i­cant progress of the po­lio eradication pro- gramme in 2015 and em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of sol­i­dar­ity of all stake­hold­ers. He also said, "Ja­pan's com­mit­ment and strong part­ner­ship with the Govern­ment of Pak­istan and UNICEF will con­tinue to com­plete po­lio eradication in Pak­istan".

Se­nior Joint Sec­re­tary Dr. Amer Sheikh said on this oc­ca­sion, Pak­istan is one of the last two coun­tries still fac­ing men­ace of po­lio. Govern­ment of Pak­istan with the sup­port of its part­ner and donors has been able to markedly re­duce the in­ci­dence of po­lio in the coun­try. How­ever to erad­i­cate po­lio com­pletely, Pak­istan would re­quire sup­port from its both bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral part­ners.

Dr. Amer Sheikh said Govern­ment of Ja­pan for their con­tin­ual sup­port to Govern­ment of Pak­istan in its ef­forts to erad­i­cate po­lio. The Govern­ment of Ja­pan has been con­sis­tently help­ing chil­dren in Pak­istan. Th­ese funds come at a crit­i­cal junc­ture as the virus is con­cen­trated in just three re­main­ing sanc­tu­ar­ies - the Khy­ber-Pe­shawar cor­ri­dor, Karachi and the Quetta block. A de­ter­mined fo­cus on de­liv­er­ing high qual­ity cam­paigns for the re­main­der of the low sea­son and find­ing ev­ery missed child is crit­i­cal to en­sure the virus can­not sur­vive and spread. To­day's cer­e­mony is an­other step to­wards eradication of po­lio from Pak­istan.

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