Japan Boosts Child Healthcare with $7.8m

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Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji
Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji

The Government of Japan Tuesday in Abuja, donated a grant of $7.85 million (N1.2 4 billion) to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for child survival programmes in Nigeria.

The grant is for polio-eradication, strengthening cold chain system especially for routine immunisation and support for maternal, new-born and child health weeks (MNCHWs) in Nigeria.

While making his remark at the signing ceremony between the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr. Ryuichi Shoji, and the UNICEF representative, Dr. Suomi Sakai, witnessed by the Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu,  the ambassador stated that Japan had been making substantial  efforts to fight against infectious diseases and eradicating polio in Nigeria with the cooperation of UNICEF.

Sholi told the gathering which included officials from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) that Japan’s financial contribution in the fight against polio in Nigeria amounted to about N14 billion, adding: “Today, I am absolutely honoured to be here once again to sign and present a check of 600 million Yen which is approximately N1.2 billion.”

The envoy however observed that “We must not forget that our lofty goal is yet to be achieved. Polio has not been completely eradicated. It is said the last step counts as much as half of the road already taken. Mortality rate of children under five years of age and maternal mortality rate in Nigeria are still high. We still need to make progress.

In her remarks, Sakai said the grant was timely and would make significant contribution to Nigeria’s final push to stop the transmission of the wild polio virus and the effort towards strengthening routine immunization including expanding the cold chain system for introduction of new vaccines as well as for institutionalising maternal, newborn and child health weeks.

Since 2000, the government of Japan has been a major donor supporting child survival interventions in general and infectious diseases prevention in children in Nigeria in particular, through the UNICEF/Federal Government’s programme of cooperation.

The donation is coming amid the accusation by the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigerian (MHWUN) of government neglect of the primary healthcare sector.

Addressing journalists on the forth coming health week, President of the union, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, said: “Primary healthcare is supposed to be the bedrock of the country’s health policy, however, it is sad to note that it is currently catering for less than 20 per cent of its potential users.”

He further maintained that “Due to absence of proper funding for primary healthcare, the quality of service do no encourage people to utilise the services as a result of lack of equipment and other medical facilities.”

From Paul Obi in Abuja

 

In : Health