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Japan To Fund Polio Vaccination Efforts In Pakistan

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing approximately $65 million to Pakistan’s government to provide polio vaccination campaigns in the country, “one of the most difficult fronts against the disease as global health organizations risk missing their goal of stopping polio globally the end of 2012,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “If Pakistan achieves certain goals with the money, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will repay the loan to Japan, according to officials briefed on the plan,” according to the newspaper (Guth, 8/18).

“The loan is underpinned by an innovative financing approach referred to as a ‘Loan Conversion’ mechanism,” a Gates Foundation press release states (8/17). The Wall Street Journal reports that the loan “is structured as a line of credit that Pakistan can draw down through 2015, according to [a] Gates Foundation official. The foundation will repay the loan on behalf of Pakistan if the country immunizes certain numbers of children, the official said.” The newspaper notes that the Gates Foundation and JICA “expect to fund similar loans in other countries, according to a official at the Gates Foundation in Seattle” (8/18).