April 2 : The Government of Nepal and the World Bank have signed an agreement for additional financing of $75 million to support access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for Nepal’s prioritized populations.
Issuing a statement, the World Bank said that Finance Secretary Sishir Kumar Dhungana and the World Bank’s Country Director for the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, Faris Hadad-Zervos, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations on Friday, April 2.
“The additional financing is an important and timely support to the government’s overall plans to vaccinate at least 72 percent of the Nepali population,” the statement quoted Finance Secretary Dhungana as saying. “It supports the government’s health response to the pandemic, by supporting procurement of COVID-19 vaccines as well as strengthening health systems for their effective deployment as per the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan.”
According to the World Bank, the additional financing builds on the $29 million for the original Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project that was signed in April 2020. The project will be implemented under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Population by the Department of Health Services and associated institutional bodies.
About 90 percent of the additional financing will support the purchase, supply and distribution of safe and effective COVID‐19 vaccines, the statement added. The rest of the financing will support existing public health measures to test, trace and treat the COVID-19 infection through a strengthened health system; community engagement and risk communication to improve the demand and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines; and project implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and learning.
“Equitable and fast access to effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines is vital to save lives and support a resilient recovery from the pandemic,” stated Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank’s Country Director for the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “The World Bank is committed to support the government’s pandemic response to protect lives, strengthen systems for public health preparedness, and stimulate economic recovery in Nepal.”