World Bank rolls out vaccine funds for impoverished Asian nations


FILE PHOTO:  Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.  (Reuters Photo)
FILE PHOTO: Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. (Reuters Photo)

THE World Bank has announced financing for Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal to vaccinate their populations against Covid-19.

Afghanistan will receive $113 million — including $60 million from the International Development Association (IDA), part of the Washington-based development lender that helps the world’s poorest nations — to “deploy safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines,” it said.

“The World Bank has worked closely with the Afghan government and development partners to respond effectively to Covid-19, improve testing and treatment, and strengthen the country’s health system,” World Bank country director for Afghanistan Henry Kerali said.

“This additional financing is a major step forward to provide timely and equitable access to vaccines to millions of Afghans.”

The funding package is aimed at vaccinating 17 per cent of Afghans and helping the country recover from the pandemic, the lender said.

Via the IDA, the World Bank approved $500m in Bangladesh and $75m for Nepal.

“In addition to financing, the Bank is providing technical assistance and knowledge-sharing workshops for countries in South Asia on different aspects of designing and deploying fair and equitable vaccine strategies,” the statement said.

Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal are among Asia’s poorest nations by GDP per capita.

In total, the World Bank had provided $12 billion for developing countries to procure and distribute Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments.

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