In order to help Bangladesh in vaccination, the World Bank has sanctioned a $500 fund from the International Development Association (IDA). The loan was approved for vaccinating 54 million people against Covid-19, according to a notice from the world lender released on March 19 (Friday).
Earlier, Bangladesh requested the World Bank to release $250 million on an urgent basis out of the $500 million under the Covid-19 Recovery and Response Project.
As an additional allocation under the IDA-19 of the World Bank, Bangladesh demanded the credit for ensuing Covid-19 vaccines.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh and has committed $35 billion in grants, interest-free, and concessional credits to the country since the beginning of Bangladesh.
“This financing will help Bangladesh strengthen its national systems to ensure the prompt delivery of vaccines to one-third of its population.”
The funding will cover the cost of deployment of the vaccines acquired through the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX) for about 20 percent of the population.
For the remaining 11 percent of the population, the financing will cover direct purchases of vaccines from manufacturers or through COVAX, and the costs related to administering the vaccination.
Nonetheless, the project will continue to provide support to strengthen the national health systems to detect, prevent, and treat Covid-19 cases, as well as prepare for future health emergencies.
Further, it will provide training to personnel for a successful vaccination program and strengthen the capacity of the Directorate General of Drug Administration for testing vaccines in the country.
The additional financing to the Covid-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness Project will help Bangladesh procure safe and effective vaccines, expand vaccine storage facilities, and distribute vaccines to about 31 percent of its population, in support of the government’s prioritized plan of covering 40 percent of the population in the first phase of vaccination, said WB.
“Bangladesh has taken quick action to combat Covid-19 by rolling out a national vaccination program. To achieve the objectives of the program, fast and equitable access to vaccines will be important,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
On the other hand, the government is purchasing vaccines using its own resources that will cover another 9 percent of the population.
“The project will continue to support setting-up of testing laboratories and expand provision of intensive care at the district level.” said Iffat Mahmud, World Bank Senior Operations Officer and Task Team Leader for the Project.
With this additional financing, the World Bank’s support to the project now stands at $600 million. In addition, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is providing $100 million more for this project.
The IDA credit has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period. Bangladesh currently has the largest ongoing IDA program totaling over $13.5 billion.
This additional financing for Bangladesh is one of three projects in a first phase of support for the Covid-19 vaccination effort across the South Asia region.
WB’s board of directors also approved additional financing from the IDA of $75 million for Nepal and $60 million for Afghanistan, complemented by $50 million from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) and $3 million from the Energy Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP).