The Japanese government has announced a contribution of US$2.64 million to UNICEF’s polio eradication efforts in Pakistan. According to UNICEF, in 2011 alone 136 Pakistani children have contracted polio. The Japanese government aid agency, JICA, stated that they have supported the program for 16 years. Since their program was launched in 1994, the number of cases has been reduced from more than 30,000 in 1994.
UNICEF said it will use the money to buy 11 million doses of oral polio vaccine for its 2012 campaigns and support social mobilization messaging to end misunderstanding and prejudice against polio vaccination, especially in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which accounts for nearly 50 per cent of reported polio cases. While polio campaigns globally have been very effective, recent outbreaks in Pakistan and Africa have led to increased investment by governments and international agencies in order to stamp out the virus.