ISLAMABAD - As a part of it continuous financial support to take forward the National Polio Eradication Programme in Pakistan, the government of Japan has agreed to provide 4.7 million US dollar to UNICEF. The agreement was inked between Chihiro Atsumi, Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan, and country head of UNICEF Martin Mongwanja here on Thursday. Beside the signing ceremony, exchange of notes also took place between the government of Japan and the UNICEF. UINCEF will use the funds to procure 26 million doses of oral polio vaccine during 2009 that constitutes 7 per cent of the total requirement for the year. The Federal Minister for Health, Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani was also present on the occasion to witness the ceremony. Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Health Minister expressed gratitude to the government and people of Japan for supporting the cause and protecting the health of Pakistani children. The Minister said that eradication of polio was a top priority of the government and all-out efforts are being made in this regard. He added that continued support of partner agencies and governments was vital to achieving goals of programmes aimed at protecting the health and wellbeing of Pakistani children. Japanese Ambassador Chihiro Atsumi said the government of Japan has been supporting Polio Eradication Programme in Pakistan since 1996. Total contribution made so far by the government of Japan comes up to US$ 77.76 million, a sum which is a significant contribution towards reducing the number of polio cases in Pakistan, the ambassador said. For the past 13 years Japan's support has been instrumental in ensuring sufficient quantities of vaccine and sustained cold chain to protect the potency of the vaccine. JICA Chief Representative, Tomoharu Otake, also expressed his views on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, UNICEF Country Representative, Martin Mongwanja pledged continued support of his organisation to the government of Pakistan in the area of disease prevention and child health. He said in the wake of recent upsurge of polio in Pakistan, the eyes of the world are all the more on our polio eradication efforts. The Country Head of Polio Eradication Programme, Dr Altaf Hussain Bosan informed the meeting that over the years support by partners agencies and government has ensured a sustainable supply of polio vaccine to the children of Pakistan. There has been never any shortage of polio vaccine thanks to the commitment of the government and unwavering support of our partners, he added.