New Delhi, 22 August 2008: The Government of Japan today pledged 8.3 crore rupees (209 million yen) for the eradication of poliomyelitis in India. His Excellency Hideaki Domichi, the Japanese Ambassador to India, and Ms. Karin Hulshof, UNICEF India Representative today signed an MOU formalizing the partnership. These funds will be utilized to purchase oral polio vaccine (OPV) to help ensure that some of India’s most inaccessible and marginalized children remain protected from polio.
His Excellency Hideaki Domichi hailed this as another milestone in the Indo-Japanese friendship and in the long standing relationship between the Government of Japan and UNICEF.
Ms. Karin Hulshof acknowledged the leadership of the Government of India in the Polio Eradication programme and also thanked the government and the people of Japan for their support. Through the support and vigour of partners – such as the Government of Japan – our commitment cannot falter and we will not fail” she said.
His Excellency Hideaki Domichi congratulated the Government of India in its constant efforts to eradicate polio while stressing his country’s commitment to eradicate the disease.
The Government of Japan has been supporting polio eradication in the North Eastern states, including Assam and West Bengal since 1996.
India continues to make significant progress against polio with only 16 Type 1 polio cases reported this year (as of 22nd August), compared with 83 cases in 2007, and 648 cases in 2006. Though transmission of the Type 1 virus continues, infection is relatively localized in a small number of districts in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Outside of these endemic areas, four cases have been reported from each of Assam, West Bengal, Delhi and Orissa. In terms of Type 3 polio cases, 355 cases have been reported in India to date, the majority in U.P and Bihar.
The polio eradication campaign in India is the largest in the world, with more then 180 million children under the age of five receiving OPV during national Immunization Days.