Uganda Secures $180 Million to Accelerate Affordable and Equitable Access to Vaccines

WASHINGTON —The World Bank has approved $180.3 million in additional financing for the Uganda COVID-19 Response and Emergency Preparedness Project to expand affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and build a more resilient health system. Of the $180 million, $164.3 million is an International Development Association (IDA)* grant which includes $27 million from the COVID-19 IDA Sub-window for host communities and refugees and a $16 million grant from the Global Financing Facility (GFF) to support continuity of essential health services and the rollout of COVID-19 tools.

The financing will support vaccine acquisition and deployment, continuity of essential services affected by the pandemic, and expand the coverage of interventions to also address the needs of host communities and refugees.

“This upfront financing will help Uganda acquire vaccines from a range of sources to support the country’s objective to acquire a portfolio of vaccines under the right conditions, which include value-for-money, with appropriate regulatory approvals, and a swift delivery time,” said Mukami Kariuki, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda. “The project will finance the deployment of the vaccines across the country to citizens and refugees free of cost.”

The vaccines will be acquired through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility and the African Union’s Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT). Working in partnership with both mechanisms, the Government of Uganda, has committed to securing vaccines for its population and further bolster its overall response to the pandemic.

The project also supports the procurement of personal protective equipment, intensive care unit beds, supplies, medicines, and consumables for management of COVID-19 cases and comorbidities. It will also support training in COVID-19 critical care delivery models and home-based care; finance hazard allowances to eligible frontline workers and rapid response teams; and renovate intensive care units and isolation facilities in regional referral and general hospitals including those serving host communities and refugees.

“This new financing will support investments to bring immunization systems and service delivery capacity to the level required to successfully deliver COVID-19 vaccines at scale and strengthen pandemic preparedness,” said Julia Mensah, Senior Health Specialist and Task Team Leader. “This way, it will assist Uganda to overcome some of the key response bottlenecks, facilitate the reopening of schools, and jumpstart socio-economic recovery. ”

The project will also support the delivery of essential health services through expanding availability of blood products, strengthening community health delivery systems for reproductive and newborn health, tuberculosis, malaria, and procurement of essential medicines and supplies.

“Responding to the crisis while ensuring continuation of quality essential health services are two sides of the same coin,” said Monique Vledder, Head of Secretariat, GFF. “We are therefore proud to partner with the Government of Uganda to strengthen community health systems and health worker capacity to roll out COVID-19 tools and deliver essential health services to the most vulnerable populations, including women, children and adolescents.”

The overall cost of the Uganda COVID-19 Response and Emergency Preparedness Project, including the original financing of $15.2 million, amounts to $195.5 million.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has committed over $125 billion worldwide to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history. The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump start a climate-friendly recovery. The World Bank is also providing $12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.

 

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