Islamabad - The Government of Japan on Wednesday announced to provide a grant of 520 million Yen to support the supply of essential polio vaccines during the 2017-2018.

As per a statement issued by the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulation (NHSR), the grant notes were signed and exchanged today between the Government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The grant worth US$4.63 million will support the procurement of over 28 million doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV); sufficient to vaccinate 25 million children under the age of five in the high-risk districts across Pakistan, enabling the program to quickly close the immunity gaps.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Federal Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar said, “The steady support of the Government of Japan and other partners and the seamless working together has been a crucial element of our successes in last two years.”

“Defeating polio through the collective approach motivates us to achieve broader health priorities and development milestones for the children and people of Pakistan,” she added.

Acknowledging the commitment by the Government of Japan, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication , Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said, “Over the years, the government and people of Japan have stood by us even during the difficult times. Pakistan’s program is today rated among one of the best public health service delivery initiatives across the globe.”

“We are proud of our achievements so far and are keen to achieve our goal of interrupting the poliovirus during this critical low season. With five cases at this point in 2017, our program has never been in a better place to do so,” she said.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Pakistan Takashi Kurai said, “Polio is indeed a global challenge for public health but this crippling disease is preventable by vaccination. Japan continues to support polio vaccination in Pakistan and I do hope that every child is surely vaccinated and very soon, we will achieve the long-cherished goal of complete eradication of this disease from Pakistan.”

Chief Representative, JICA in Pakistan Yasuhiro Tojo, said, “The determination of Pakistan to wipe out the poliovirus can be clearly seen in the record low number of cases. We are glad to be part of this admirable effort and hope that our support to procure additional oral polio vaccine will accelerate the country’s pace towards achieving this milestone.”