The Japanese government donated N443 million towards combating infectious diseases in Nigeria.
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, and the government of Japan exchanged notes followed by a subsequent signing of an agreement between it and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, on Thursday in Abuja on the prevention of infectious diseases in Nigeria.
The exchange of notes took place between the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ryuichi Shoji; and the deputy representative and officer in charge, UNICEF Nigeria, Jacques Boyer; in the presence of Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu.
A donation of 259, 000,000 Japanese Yen (N443 million) made by the Japanese government has been slated for strengthening routine immunization in the cold chain system in combating infectious diseases in Nigeria through UNICEF. The donation will be used to procure cold chain equipment to fill in already existing gaps in order to boost efforts made towards routine immunization in the eradication of polio in Nigeria.
The grant will also support the operational cost of strategies to drastically reduce the number of un-immunized children in the country.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Boyer said the donation will serve as a final push towards eradication of wild poliovirus (WPV) in the country.
“Altogether, the new grant will be a significant contribution to Nigeria’s push to stop the transmission of the wild poliovirus; the effort towards strengthening routine immunization and; the overall efforts to give every Nigerian child a chance to survive,” Mr. Boyer said.
He emphasized that with the donation, the governments of Japan and Nigeria have renewed their commitment to child survival in Nigeria.
Mr. Shoji, while speaking, said his country has fulfilled its promise, made at the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development in 2010, to double its assistance to Nigeria and would like to do more in Nigeria towards social development of the country.
Mr. Chukwu, commending the efforts of the Japanese government, thanked JICA for their efforts in getting the Nigerian government involved in signing of grants with multilateral bodies for use in the country.
While commending UNICEF as a trusted partner, he said the government has promised a zero transmission of WPV in the country and that the president through the Federal Ministry of Finance has promised to release funds to this effect.
Mr. Chukwu also admonished media houses to desist from sending wrong information to the public on immunization and vaccines, saying that criminals cannot stop the progress being made so far in eradication of infectious diseases in children in Nigeria.