As the government of Senegal races to vaccinate its people against the deadly COVID-19 virus, Japan has ramped up its support to the country through a generous $962,280 donation. This donation will enable Unicef to reinforce Senegal’s cold chain to ensure safe distribution and delivery of vaccines nationwide. Japan’s renewed support comes at a timely moment. Since the end of May 2021, Senegal has been experiencing a new surge in COVID-19 cases after a steadily declining caseload from February 2021.
By 15 July 2021, the country had recorded a total of 48,270 cases of COVID-19, with 1,209 deaths and 4,217 under treatment. To date, a total of 1,123,800 doses of WHO-approved vaccines have been received, including two deliveries of COVAX vaccines (508,800 doses). Under the new partnership with Japan, Unicef will provide technical assistance to the government of Senegal as it continues to roll out and manage its vaccination campaign. Reinforcement of the cold chain, continued vaccine donations and consistent messaging to communities on the importance of maintaining barrier measures and encouraging vaccine uptake will help to reverse this worrying upward trend.
Despite impressive progress in the vaccination campaign, Senegal requires significant additional vaccine doses to reach more of its population to defeat the virus. It also needs additional support to strengthen the cold chain and to communicate with communities to create a favourable environment for immunisation, build trust and confidence, and ensure application of barrier measures while vaccine roll-out continues.
The government of Japan provided swift support to Senegal in response to the COVID-19 crisis in May 2020. The $2.6 million donation enabled Unicef to provide technical support to the government of Senegal to strengthen management of the COVID-19 response and reinforce the health system to promote universal health coverage for its people. “Thanks to the generous support of the government and people of Japan, Unicef was able to act decisively in response to COVID-19 by providing key hygiene and medical supplies, as well as, prevention measures to benefit more than 390,000 vulnerable people and children,” said Silvia Danailov, Unicef’s Representative to Senegal.
Japan’s support has also proved pivotal in ensuring continuity of essential health, nutrition and child protection services for 150,000 vulnerable children, women and their families during the crisis, contributing towards the human security of the Senegalese people in the longer term. His Excellency Arai Tatsuo, Japan’s Ambassador to Senegal, praised Unicef for its “*remarkable work and considerable results achieved,*” in response to COVID-19 in Senegal. “*The dynamic partnership between the government of Japan and Unicef has brought effective support to Senegal in its fight against COVID-19, especially for women and children,*” he said.
The Unicef Representative and the Ambassador of Japan visited the Ziguinchor Regional Hospital on 28 June 2021 to visit a neonatal unit that received support from the Unicef-Japan collaboration. During this visit, Ndiame Diop, director of Ziguinchor Regional Hospital, highlighted the concrete results attained thanks to the partnership between the government of Senegal, Japan and Unicef. “*Sadly, before the arrival of the equipment and technical support, 50 percent of babies needing urgent care in the neonatal unit died. This has now dropped to an impressive 3 percent,*” he said. “*This turnaround would not have been possible without the support of our partners and, on behalf of the government of Senegal and the Region of Ziguinchor, we would like to thank the government of Japan and its people, as well as Unicef, who have been by our sides supporting the medical teams in their untiring efforts to achieve this result.*”
As vaccine doses continue to arrive in the country via the COVAX initiative and other channels, it is essential that the country is able to store the ongoing arrivals and can deliver them promptly and safely nationwide. The partnership with Japan will enable Unicef to continue its technical support to reinforce the cold chain, as well as helping to fill gaps through the procurement of key cold chain equipment. In total, Japan has donated over $12 million across West and Central Africa to facilitate Unicef’s efforts to support governments’ in rolling-out vaccines across West Africa.
Unicef works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information on Unicef’s activities, see www.unicef.org/fr.
This is not a CAPTIS article. Originally, it was published here.