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Nigeria UNICEF programmes get N1.2bn from Japan

By Chioma Obinna

The United Nations Children’s Fund  (UNICEF), yesterday, received a grant of N1.2 billion (US $ 8.5 million) from the Japanese government for its child survival programmes in Nigeria.

The grant is for polio eradication, routine immunisation and the prevention of malaria.

The Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, Mr. Toshitsugu Uesawa, signed the grant with UNICEF representative, Dr. Suomi Sakai at the Federal Ministry of Health Abuja. Other representatives present at the signing of the grant’s agreement are Ms. Kae Yanagisawa, Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and the Minister of Health,  Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin.

Speaking during the official signing, Dr. Sakai stated that although Nigeria is making progress in reducing its high child’s mortality rate, some  challenges remain that need to be addressed if Nigeria is to achieve  the (health)  MDGs adding that childhood  killer diseases are still rampant.

According to him, “Malaria  alone  is  responsible for one quarter of deaths of children while vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, tetanus or whooping cough are also among the  major causes of child mortality. In addition, the wild poliovirus  is  still  endemic in Nigeria.”


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