Japan gives Pakistan $65 mn for polio eradication

August 16th, 2011 - 10:06 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 16 (IANS) A Japanese government agency has signed a loan agreement with the Pakistan government to provide it funds up to 4,990 million yen (around $65 million) for polio eradication in the country.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed the deal with the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) of Pakistan, Online news agency reported.

The objective of the polio eradication project is to administer polio vaccine to children under five years, thereby contributing to the eradication of the disease in Pakistan.

The loan was extended on soft terms with an interest rate of 0.01 percent and a repayment period of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years.

The funds for the project will be released in September.

Pakistan is lagging behind other South Asian countries in terms of maternal and infant mortality and is one of the polio endemic countries in the world - the others being Afghanistan, India and Nigeria.

The government launched the National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication in January.

Japan has continuously committed itself to polio eradication in Pakistan.

As part of the government’s response to polio eradication, Japan has provided aid to procure oral polio vaccine mainly for the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas in partnership with Unicef since 1996.

The JICA is an independent governmental agency that coordinates official development assistance for the government of Japan. It deals with assisting economic and social growth in developing countries and promotion of international cooperation.

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