Japan International Cooperation Agency and Gates Foundation announce polio partnership

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced “a strategic partnership to ensure continued progress in the fight against polio,” including “an innovative financing agreement to support the polio campaign in Pakistan.”  The financing agreement “represents a significant contribution towards the goal of eradication of polio in Pakistan. Based on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) current cost estimates, this 4.9 billion JPY (approximately $65 million) ODA Loan(1) to the government of Pakistan will help ensure that polio eradication activities in Pakistan are financed through 2013.”

Bill Gates commented, “This partnership comes at a critical time for Pakistan and will help us achieve our shared goal of a polio-free world. Japan’s remarkable commitment will benefit generations of children in Pakistan and throughout the world.” The announcement noted that Japan’s ODA loan will provide the country with funds for oral polio vaccine, immunization workers, and vaccination activities across the country and along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. It will also involve working in partnership with stakeholders such as the World Bank for co-financing as well as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for vaccine procurement and the World Health Organization (WHO) for service delivery of the polio campaign.

The loan is “underpinned by an innovative financing approach referred to as a “Loan Conversion” mechanism. According to this model, the Gates Foundation will repay the credit to JICA on behalf of the Pakistani government if the project is successfully implemented. The aim of this mechanism is to support the government of Pakistan’s commitment to polio eradication without imposing a financial burden.”