More than $4 billion has been approved by the World Bank for the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines for 51 developing countries – half of which are in Africa.
The world bank in a recent statement disclosed that the financing is part of the commitment to help low and middle-income countries acquire and distribute vaccines and strengthen their health systems.
The 51 countries include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Comoros, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Georgia.
Others are: Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, the Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea.
The remaining countries on the list include the Philippines, Rwanda, São Tomé e Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, Yemen, and Zambia.
However, Nigeria did not make it on the list of countries to benefit from the COVID vaccine funding and deployment by the multilateral organisation.
Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank managing director of operations, said: “Significant challenges still remain regarding vaccine deployment and hesitancy.
“We are taking action on all fronts to tackle these challenges, working in solidarity with international and regional partners to expedite doses to as many people as possible and to enhance disease surveillance, preparedness, and response”.
The bank said since the start of the pandemic, it has approved more than $150 billion to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic.
It also said since last April, financing has been scaled up by over 50 percent to help more than 100 countries meet emergency health needs, strengthen pandemic preparedness, while also supporting countries as they protect the poor and jobs, and jump-starting a climate-friendly recovery.
The World Bank initially approved $4.4 billion for 53 countries to access COVID-19 vaccines, however, two countries – Liberia and Mauritania – were excluded from the list to make only 51 beneficiaries.
In June, the World Bank and African Union (AU) partnered to support the Africa vaccine acquisition task team (AVATT) initiative with resources to allow countries purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million people across Africa.
The partnership is to boost the AU’s target to vaccinate 60 percent of Africans by 2022.
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