By Emmanuel Côme Mugisha
The World Bank has announced $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it is available.
The initiative is expected to make possible the vaccination of up to 1 billion people in low-income countries.
It also is an attempt to ensure that the awaited vaccine is not consumed by wealthy nations that have already started disbursing immense supply schemes.
The plan comes to support existing efforts being led by the World Health Organization and Covax in regards to acquiring and delivering vaccines.
At least 46 African countries are eligible for the Covax financing instrument which has so far raised over $700 million of the $2-billion target by the end of 2020.
Developing countries, according to the World Bank, were more affected by the pandemic than rich economies.
“We are extending and expanding our fast-track approach to address the Covid-19 emergency so that developing countries have fair and equal access to vaccines,” said World Bank president David Malpass.
“Access to safe and effective vaccines and strengthened delivery systems are key to alter the course of the pandemic and help countries experiencing catastrophic economic and fiscal impacts move toward a resilient recovery.”
In addition to purchasing coronavirus doses, the Bank will also support countries to access tests and treatments as well as support in the supply chain and other logistics.
The envelope adds to the World Bank’s Covid-19 emergency response programmes worth $160 billion that are already reaching 111 countries.
Rwanda received a $14.2 million boost from the fund to support local response to the pandemic.
Coronavirus has killed over one million people and infected more than 38 million and crippled economies.
Ensuring equitable access to its vaccine is crucial to curbing the multilateral impacts of the global crisis.
According to the Ministry of Health, 20 per cent of Rwandans including health workers at the frontline, the elderly and people with chronic diseases are eligible for the first doses expected by March 2021, if all goes well.
Source New Times.