Japan Pledges $3.8M to UNICEF To Improve Maternal, Child Health Services in Myanmar
The Japanese government on Wednesday announced it will provide $3.8 million to UNICEF to improve Myanmar's maternal and child health services, including efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and malaria, Xinhua News Agency reports (Xinhua News Agency, 11/9). UNICEF aims to use the funds to prevent vertical HIV transmission in the country by providing antiretroviral drugs to pregnant women. The organization also plans to purchase malaria drugs and 70,000 insecticide-treated nets for children and pregnant women. In addition, UNICEF plans to immunize more than 500,000 infants and women of childbearing age against measles and tetanus, respectively. "We need the support of the international community to help us protect Myanmar's children from HIV/AIDS, malaria, measles and other killers of children," Carroll Long, UNICEF's Myanmar country representative, said (Dow Jones/Mainichi Daily News, 11/9). Earlier this year, the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria announced its withdrawl of funding to Myanmar -- also known as Burma -- citing travel and other restrictions implemented by the country's military-controlled government that impede the delivery of medical supplies and services. The Global Fund in 2004 pledged to spend $98 million in the country over five years for programs to fight the three diseases (GlobalHealthReporting.org, 8/23).
Japanese Coalition Donates $250,000 to Global Fund
In related news, a Japanese coalition of anti-poverty organizations on Tuesday announced it is donating $250,000 to the Global Fund. The money consists of a portion of the proceeds made by the Hottokenai Sekai-no-Mazushisa campaign from the sale of white plastic bracelets in Japan. The white bracelets are a symbol of the global campaign to eradicate poverty and are modeled after similar bracelets from the Make Poverty History campaign in the United Kingdom and the ONE Campaign in the U.S. In June, Japan pledged an additional $500 million to the Global Fund to be disbursed over several years (Global Fund release, 11/8).