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Japan, UNICEF to give Afghan kids life-saving vaccines

Japan, UNICEF to give Afghan kids life-saving vaccines

Feb 17, 2016 - 15:20

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Japan signed on Wednesday an agreement to donate $15.6 million to help eradicate polio and prevent the spread of other vaccine-preventable diseases in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

The funds would support UNICEF efforts to provide live-saving vaccines for polio eradication and for the routine expanded programme on immunisation. The vaccines will be available for free at all healthinfo-icon facilities and through campaigns across the country.

Ambassador of Japan Hiroshi Takahashi and UNICEF Representative Akhil Iyer signed the one-year agreement in the presence of Minister of Public Health Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz. The accord will be implemented in coordination with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Ambassador Takahashi said: “We believe that growth of children in good health forms a foundation for the development of any country. Based on this belief, the government of Japan has been the only donor in Afghanistan to support this project.”

Dr. Feroz said: “Preventing epidemic diseases through vaccination is a cost-effective way to protect our children against preventable illnesses. By vaccinating children regularly, we can significantly reduce child mortality in Afghanistan.”

Iyer, who received the grant, hoped: “Provision of these vaccines will make a tremendous difference in our joint efforts to reduce infant and child mortality in Afghanistan.

“While great progress has been made in recent years, this country still has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the worldinfo-icon, with one child in every 10 dying before their fifth birthday…” he added.

Chief Representative of JICA Afghanistan Office Eiichiro Cho remarked: “It is doubtless that 2016 marks the most important year for the polio eradication initiative not only in Afghanistan but also globally. JICA is committed to assist the government’s effort toward eradication of the disease...”


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