Anti-polio support will help Pakistan reach out to 21m kids in high-risk districts

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Japan announces US$ 4.35m grant to support Pakistan’s poliovirus eradication programme

 

Zubair Qureshi

The Government of Japan has announced a US $4.35 million (Dh 15.97 million) grant for Pakistan to procure essential oral polio vaccines.

The grant is part of the Japanese government’s continued support to Pakistan for its polio eradication efforts, said an official of the embassy of Japan.

The notes to this effect were signed and exchanged between the Government of Japan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the grant agreement was signed and exchanged between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and UNICEF on Monday. With this grant 24 million oral doses of vaccines will be procured for the Pakistani government.

With the help of the Japanese aid Pakistan’s polio vaccination programme will reach out to around 21 million children under 5 with focus on the high-risk districts where the poliovirus transmission is feared to persist despite all government efforts. The vaccines will be used during vaccination drives planned in 2022.

According to the National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) 2021-2023, the Polio Porgramme’s strategic goal is to permanently interrupt all poliovirus transmission in Pakistan by the end of 2023.

The polio eradication efforts made substantive progress in the outgoing year (2021) by limiting the virus circulation which resulted in a significant decrease of cases despite challenges posed by COVID-19.

Dr. Shahzad Baig, National Coordinator of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme was of the view that the government would be able to permanently interrupt all types of poliovirus by the end of 2023.

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