Japan grants $3.62 million for polio vaccines in Pakistan

Press Release 01:21 PM, 18 Jan, 2024
Japan grants $3.62 million for polio vaccines in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Government of Japan has pledged a generous grant of US$ 3.62 million to procure vital oral polio vaccines, reaffirming its unwavering support for Pakistan's ongoing battle against polio.

The Pakistan Polio Programme is set to utilize these funds to secure more than 21 million doses of vaccines, which will play a pivotal role in bolstering polio vaccination campaigns throughout 2024, according to an official press release.

Despite substantial progress worldwide, Pakistan remains one of only two countries where polio continues to persist. In 2023, Pakistan reported a total of six polio cases. With the disease now confined to a handful of locations within the country, the Government of Pakistan and its partners are gearing up for an aggressive campaign in 2024 to finally eradicate this debilitating disease that primarily affects children.

Each national immunization drive is designed to reach over 44 million children under the age of five, with a workforce of more than 370,000 frontline workers, predominantly women, playing a crucial role in ensuring the success of the Polio Programme's outreach efforts.

Dr. Nadeem Jan, the caretaker Federal Health Minister, expressed determination, saying, "Despite the challenges, Pakistan will remain relentless in our drive to put an end to polio in the next year." He emphasized the importance of addressing remaining obstacles and praised the Government of Japan for its steadfast support towards polio eradication in Pakistan.

ITO Takeshi, Charge d’ Affaires ad interim of Japan to Pakistan, commended the significant strides made in controlling the spread of poliovirus in the previous year and expressed his respect for the dedication of polio workers and law enforcement agencies in their mission for humanity. He stressed the importance of Pakistan's leadership commitment to ending polio and renewed Japan's dedication to promoting routine immunization.

Japan's support for the Polio Eradication program in Pakistan has been consistent since 1996, with their grant and loan contributions totaling approximately US$ 242.16 million through UNICEF.

Tsuyoshi Hara, Senior Representative at the JICA Pakistan Office, expressed appreciation for the government's commitment to ensuring all children receive essential vaccines. He emphasized the critical role of vaccines in strengthening children's immunity and hoped for the successful execution of all polio campaigns in the year ahead, ultimately leading to zero polio cases.