YANGON, Myanmar: Japan on Wednesday pledged US$2.65 million (€2.1 million) to UNICEF to fight HIV/AIDS and malaria in Myanmar, the Japanese Embassy announced.
Military-ruled Myanmar receives little foreign aid due to Western countries' disapproval of the junta's poor human rights record and its failure to hand over power to a democratically elected government.
The aid to UNICEF — the U.N. children's fund — will be used to purchase rapid test kits and medicines for malaria, measles, test kits for HIV/AIDS, and essential medicines and equipment for reproductive health, a Japanese Embassy statement said.
It said the Japanese grant, developed thorough consultations among Myanmar's Health Ministry, the government of Japan and UNICEF, is aimed at "improving health care for mothers and children in Myanmar, especially in rural areas."
The grant aid agreement was signed by Japan's ambassador to Myanmar, Nobutake Odano, and by UNICEF representative Ramesh Shrestha.
Japan is the largest aid donor to Myanmar. Tokyo suspended grants for major projects after the junta took power in 1988, but has since given aid under a grass roots program focused mainly on health, education and humanitarian projects.