Japan's contribution will secure the rights of 400,000 Palestinian children aged 0-15 years and more than 80,000 Palestinian women of reproductive age to immunization services.
"Immunization is a best buy in health. It is an effective means of reducing morbidity, mortality and disability among children", said UNICEF Special Representative David S. Bassiouni. Japan's gift is an infusion not only of needed funds but of moral leadership in contributing towards improving the quality of life of Palestinian children.
The donation from Japan aims at supporting the Palestinian Authority in sustaining the over 95% immunization coverage rates for basic Expanded Programme on Immunization antigens and to ensuring effective management of the national immunization programme in OPT. The funds will be utilized to secure vaccine supplies and safe injection equipment for the year 2004, to contribute towards improving the quality and efficiency of immunization service delivery and improved monitoring and evaluation of key national immunization programme activities.
Palestinian Ministry of Health will be the main implementing agency for the project in cooperation with the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Child survival and development has been seriously compromised in the current conflict between Palestinians and Israel. More than 585 children were killed out of which 104 Israeli children and 480 Palestinian children were killed since September 2000. "Security and stability in the region must be secured for the sake of all children - both Palestinians and Israelis. There is no alternative to peace", added Bassiouni. Reaching the hard to reach children with basic health services is a basic right for every child and a special challenge to UNICEF.
At the global level, Japan is among the largest donors to UNICEF. It was the second largest government donor in 2002. Beginning in 2002, UNICEF has expanded its collaboration with the Government of Japan beyond polio eradication and infectious disease (ID) control, and for the first time UNICEF received contributions for basic education since it first cooperation in 1998. At the local level, this donation is the largest ever from the Government of Japan to UNICEF - OPT.
For further information, please contact:
Monica Awad, UNICEF - Occupied Palestinian Territory, +972 (0)2 583 0013/4 (tel)
Damien Personnaz, Communication Section, UNICEF Geneva, Tel (41) 022 909 5716
For further information on UNICEF, visit its website at http://www.unicef.org/