New Delhi, 6 June 2005: In an Exchange of Notes Ceremony in New Delhi, Japanese Ambassador Yasukuni Enoki signed his Government’s pledge of US$5.24 million to end polio virus transmission in India by the end of 2005. It was Japan’s ninth donation to UNICEF to purchase polio vaccine for children in West Bengal and north eastern states. This year’s contribution will buy 44 million doses.Accepting on behalf of UNICEF, Officer-in-Charge Mr. Eimar Barr congratulated Japan for its long tradition of outstanding support for the health and well-being of children. He said that Japan’s contribution has achieved results, “In India in 2002, there were 1,600 polio cases reported. But the number so far this year is 18”.
Even though there are only six countries – India among them – where polio is still endemic, Mr. Barr observed that last year, polio spread from Nigeria and re-established transmission across West and Central Africa. This year, the virus made its way to Yemen and Indonesia: two countries that used to be polio-free. He said, “Until polio is eradicated, it remains a threat to pubic health globally. No country is free from polio until all countries are polio-free.”
The Government of Japan re-affirmed its commitment to stand by UNICEF, the Government of India, WHO, Rotary International and other key partners to ensure that in India, the virus is wiped out completely.
- Japan’s has been supporting the Polio Eradication Campaign since 1996. The cumulative amount up to 2005 will reach nearly US$65 million.
- Japan’s contribution this year will be used to buy 44 million doses of oral polio vaccine and 1 million disposable syringes.
- India has the largest polio eradication campaign in the world.
- In 2004, UNICEF procured over 1.1 billion doses of polio vaccine for children in India.
- In 2004 there were 8 national and sub-national campaigns. During national immunization days, India covers up to 169 million children