Government of Japan pledges P190M agreement with UNICEF to strengthen COVID-19 immunization response

MANILA, 31 March 2021 – The Government of Japan pledged additional PhP190m to UNICEF strengthening its support to the Philippine Government’s COVID-19 immunization response. The pledge is part of the Japanese Government’s assistance to 25 countries in the Southeast and Southwest Asian and Pacific Island region amounting to a total of US$41 million.

The funding enables UNICEF in the Philippines to provide around 147 health facilities with vaccine cold rooms and solar refrigerators and 2,000 health facilities with temperature monitoring devices, train over 50 technicians to operate and maintain the new facilities, and equip 300 health care facility staff with the necessary skills for its use and monitoring. Other components of the programme will include development of immunization policy and procedures; building surveillance and in-country laboratory capacities for the early detection, investigation, and management of vaccine preventable diseases; and management and strengthening of information management systems.

“The costs of the pandemic for children are immediate and, if unaddressed, may persist throughout their lives. The availability and equitable distribution of vaccines is critical for putting an end to this global pandemic. We thank the Government of Japan for their support in ensuring a robust cold chain is in place and immunization services are strengthened,” UNICEF Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov says.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, immunization in the Philippines has been declining.

In the 2017 Philippine National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), the immunizatio

coverage for 1-2-year-old children for all essential vaccines is low at 69.9 per cent, far below the 95 per cent target. In 2019, the Philippines was among the top 10 countries globally with the highest number of unvaccinated children for DPT3 and measles vaccine.

“We are grateful to UNICEF for its dedication in spearheading this initiative, which could not be more significant in this difficult time,” Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko conveys. “Counting on the decades of cooperation between Japan and UNICEF particularly here in the Philippines, together, we will continue to provide a helping hand to Filipino children in dire situations due to COVID-19. We trust that the strong ties between Japan and the Philippines will be deepened even amid this rapidly changing environment,” the Japanese Ambassador adds.

UNICEF, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, works closely with the Government of the Philippines to sustain life-saving maternal, newborn and child health services that ensure children survive and thrive. As part of its support to the Government’s COVID-19 response, UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply COVID-19 vaccines on behalf of the COVAX Facility, securing access to safe injection equipment and cold chain equipment, and supporting country readiness efforts for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.

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