The Exchange of Notes between the Government of Japan and UNICEF will take place today at the Japanese Embassy in Khartoum. This is the fifth year that the Japanese Government has provided multi-million dollar support to the health sector in Sudan.
UNICEF and its partners, mainly the Ministry of Health, WHO, UNFPA, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Rotary International and many NGOs, is targeting over 2 million children and women over the course of the next 12 months with services, supplies and technical support.
“The Japanese Government is honoured to continue its support in the area of women’s and children’s health,” said Mr. Masayuki Makiya, Japan’s Ambassador to Sudan, “Malaria, measles and polio are still major health problems and we must keep up the battle against them. For that purpose, this contribution is intended to improve the routine immunization programme as well as other health services.” He noted that without a strong national immunization programme, efforts to eradicate polio from the country would not be successful.
Some 1.9 million returnees and residents in host communities in the southern states, the transition regions, the eastern region and the Khartoum IDP areas, plus 150,000 people in Darfur are targeted in the coming year with funds from the Japanese Government. This includes 410,000 children under five years old and 150,000 pregnant women.
While the contribution will be used to improve overall access to health care, a focus will be maintained, as in past years, on polio eradication, reducing child deaths due to measles, and reducing the number of malaria cases and deaths from malaria amongst children and pregnant women.
Japan has been a major contributor to the polio eradication programme in Sudan for several years. As of July, 151 polio cases have been confirmed, including 126 in 2004 and 25 in 2005.
Measles may affect as many as 30 percent of all children in between 9 and 59 months, claiming up to 12,000 lives annually. The funds will be used to improve immunization coverage against measles.
Between 7 and 8 million malaria cases occur in Sudan every year. The Japanese funds will provide over 300,000 long-lasting treated bed for the protection of 410,000 under five children and 150,000 pregnant women. It will also be used to purchase Artemesin Combination Therapy (ACT) for at least 328,000 cases of malaria.
“Providing treatment for various childhood diseases is important but not enough,” said UNICEF’s highest ranking officer in Sudan, Kadayapreth Ramachandran. “That’s why this year’s generous contribution from the Japanese Government will also be used to promote good skills for parents and other child care takers. This will improve the better management childhood illnesses in the home.”
Senior officials from the Ministry of International Co-operation, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, WHO and UNFPA are expected to attend the ceremony. Facts sheets on malaria, measles, polio and routine immunization are available.