20 September 2018

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$8.1m Japanese Grant to Benefit Millions Of Afghan Children

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Tuesday August 28, 2018
Kabul (BNA) Japan has responded to an urgent call for scaling up maternal and child health action in Afghanistan with new assistance to UNICEF of $8.1 million.
The grant is a part of the overall support for the wellbeing of mothers and children, with focus on health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, through the scale-up of the system as part of the Basic Primary Health Service (BPHS) across all 34 provinces. A grant-signing ceremony was held today at the Embassy of Japan in Kabul between Ambassador Mitsuji Suzuka and UNICEF representative Adele Khodr. Minister of Public Health Ferozudin Feroz was also in attendance.
“I would like to thank the government and people of Japan for supporting the Ministry of Public Health in scaling up this important project. I would like to thank UNICEF, our trusted partner…” the minister added.
Since January 2016, the Ministry of Public Health, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UNICEF, the WHO and other partners have been working together to develop Afghanistan’s first ever integrated home-based and hand-held personal record of maternal and child health and nutrition.
A prototype of the Afghanistan Maternal and Child Health Handbook (MCHHB) was developed last year and piloted in Kama and Mirbachakot districts. The Ministry of Public Health is now ready to scale up implementation of the MCHHB across all 34 provinces. The contribution will target 5.2 million beneficiaries – 2.1 million pregnant women and 3.1 million children under two years of age – and their respective families. Adele Khodr said: “UNICEF values the partnership with the government of Japan and the sustained support to children in need, especially within a protracted context such as Afghanistan. “Continued investment in Afghanistan’s children, especially the most vulnerable is a key building block for the future stability and development of this country,” she stressed. Ambassador Suzuka remarked: “One aspect of Japan’s development policy is promotion of improvement of the public health system, especially for women. This system continues for more than 70 years in Japan and has now been expanded in many parts of the world. “This handbook is a collection of information that highlights the health of children. The mothers become happy whenever looks at the handbook and see the healthy growth of their children at growing stage and afterwards. Now it’s time for Afghanistan to be distributed through their relevant authorities. “Although, it is important, of course, the distribution of the handbook itself does not guarantee the health of the mothers and healthy growth of the children. It is essential to have a good public health network, access to health facilities and the cooperation of public health personnel. I hope that the handbook will be used better in Afghanistan and further developed.”

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