CAIRO: Health services for expectant mothers and their babies in four of Upper Egypt’s governorates are to receive a major boost thanks to a grant of nearly two million dollars from the Japanese government to the United Nations Children’s Fund, UN officials have said.
The funds will be formally delivered at a signing ceremony in Cairo on Tuesday presided over by the Minister of Health and Population, Dr Hatem El Gebali.
A total of four million children aged five and under are expected to benefit from Unicef’s maternal and child health program, which envisages the creation and equipping of four MoHP prenatal and neonatal centers in Qena, Sohag, Asiut and Minya.
As well as offering a full range of services for pregnant women and nursing mothers, the centers will provide training and certification for health staff working in the region.
Unicef officials believes this will be a major step towars ensuring health benefits for women in Upper Egypt.
The grant follows previous collaboration between the Japanese government, MoHP and Unicef in the immunization campaign which led to Egypt’s being declared polio-free in February 2006.
The Japanese funding will also contribute towards the implementation of a strategy to offer facility- and home-based care for children in both health and illness. Introduced to Egypt in 1997 by Unicef and the World Health Organization, the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) is being expanded to eventually cover all primary health care units.