NEW DELHI, 25 January 2011 - The Government and people of Japan today pledged their continued support to the Government of India’s campaign to eradicate polio from the country. The contribution of 192 million Yenwill be used for the procurement of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to help protect the most inaccessible and marginalized children in India from polio.
His Excellency Hideaki Domichi, the Japanese Ambassador to India, and UNICEF India Representative, Ms. Karin Hulshof signed a memorandum of understanding for the transfer of funds through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“UNICEF India has played a crucial role in the drastic reduction in the number of polio cases in the country,” said H.E. Mr. Hideaki Domichi.
Over the past decade, India has recorded a sharp decline in polio cases. Intensive efforts to track down the virus to its epicenter and the introduction of the monovalent and bivalent oral polio vaccines have consolidated gains in the fight against polio.
In 2010, 18 Type 1 polio cases were reported, compared to 80 cases in 2009.
The polio eradication campaign in India is the largest in the world, with more than 180 million children under the age of five receiving OPV during national immunization days.
The Government of Japan has been supporting polio eradication in the North Eastern states and Assam since 1996.
Ms. Karin Hulshof thanked the Government of Japan for its continued support to UNICEF’s mission in eradicating polio. “Our partnership has contributed to a drastic reduction in polio cases; from 1600 in 2002 to 42 in 2010. The eradication efforts need to continue at the current intensity and the goal will only be reached when we can say that no children have been affected at all by the various wild polio viruses.”
Ms. Hulshof acknowledged the leadership of the Government of India in the Polio Eradication programme, supported by the joint efforts of invaluable partners such as the World Health Organization, CDC, Rotary International, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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