The Japanese government has announced $3.62 million grant to procure essential oral polio vaccines as part of its continued support for polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.
Pakistan will use the funds to procure more than 21m doses of vaccines to support polio campaigns in 2024.
According to a statement issued by the health ministry, Pakistan is one of the two countries in the world that has yet to eradicate polio. In 2023, the country reported a total of six cases of polio.
Each national immunisation drive targets over 44m children under the age of five, with more than 370,000 frontline workers, predominantly women, playing a crucial role to ensure the Polio Programme`s outreach.
`Despite the challenges, Pakistan will remain relentless in our drive to put an end to polio next year,` said Dr Nadeem Jan, the federal health minister.
`The unwavering support of the government ofJapanhasbeeninstrumental in helping us get closer to reaching zero cases,` he added.
ITO Takeshi, Charge d`Affaires ad interim of Japan to Pakistan, said Japan would like to renew its commitment to continuing its efforts towards the ultimate goal of polio eradication by promoting routine immunisation.
The new funding is part of the continuous support from the government of Japan to the Polio Eradication Programme since 1996. To date, the grant and loan contribution from Japan has amounted to $242.16m to support the Pakistan Polio Programme through Unicef.
Acknowledgement: Published in Daily Dawn on 18 Jan 2024