Pakistan receives grant for oral polio vaccine

The government of Japan extended a grant of $2.64 million on Thursday to enable the Polio Eradication Initiative in Pakistan to procure 11 million doses of oral polio vaccine.
The vaccine will be used for short interval additional dose operations, mop-up vaccination campaigns and for educational activities for polio epidemiology to eliminate prejudice against polio vaccination, The News International reports.
The agreement between the two countries was signed by Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi OE and UNICEF's representative in Pakistan Dan Rohrmann. Amjad Ali Khan, the secretary of the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination, and Toshiya Sato, the senior representative of JICA - Pakistan were also present at the ceremony.
The government of Japan's support for the year 2012 through this grant assistance and soft loan of $65 million makes up 59 percent of Pakistan's total oral polio vaccine requirement. The Japanese government has contributed $154 million to this project since 1996, which amounts to 28 percent of the total requirement so far. Pakistan has reduced its number of polio cases from 1,803 in 1993 to 144 in 2010.
Ambassador OE said he hoped that this additional assistance will help to effectively contain polio infection and to smooth the promotion of vaccination in most inaccessible areas. Rohrman said the signing ceremony signified the strong partnership between the two governments.
“Despite the tragic circumstances that the people of Japan have suffered from due to the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear reactor problems, the government of Japan has again demonstrated their unwavering commitment to Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate polio," Rohrman said, according to The News International. "We should applaud the Japanese people’s dedication to support Pakistan’s children.”