World Bank approves $200m loan for Ghana’s COVID-19 vaccines

The World Bank has approved a $200 million loan facility for the procurement of 13 million COVID-19 vaccines for Ghana.

The loan facility is the second additional financing of the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project (EPRP) by the World Bank.

The loan was approved through a partnership with the COVAX Facility on Thursday, June 10.

The project is expected to make stronger the resilience of the country’s health systems.

The funding is also expected to help Ghana prepare better for any imminent waves of the pandemic and to secure the continuation of essential health and nutrition services, including routine childhood immunisation.

The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Pierre Laporte, underscored the essence of such support to the country, noting that it would help in the prevention of deaths and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among the population.

Laporte also said the facility would provide “access to COVID-19 vaccines towards accelerating economic and social recovery in Ghana.”

The Manager of Health, Nutrition and Population for the World Bank’s Global Practices for West Africa Region, Gaston Sorgho, also said the organisation was aware of the continuing difficulties in having access to COVID-19 vaccines and logistics due to the global vaccine market challenges.

He indicated a commitment to continue to work to address such inequality in vaccine supplies that was impacting Ghana and other developing countries.

Sorgho explained that the project would build on efforts of the existing Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project.

The project would, thus, help in scaling up and strengthening surveillance of the pandemic, case management, increase public acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the deployment of the vaccine.

“It will help to strengthen cold chain equipment, vaccine safety monitoring and medical waste management,” Sorgho said.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank has provided about $100 million to Ghana through short, medium and long-term support.

The financing package included $35 million in emergency support to help the country provide improved response systems.

Under this emergency package, the World Bank would support the government of Ghana to help prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through the EPRP.

The EPRP would help strengthen the country’s National Laboratories by providing robust systems for the early detection of COVID-19 cases, provide real-time disease surveillance, and report systems of outbreaks.

It would also improve response systems through social and financial support and free health services to COVID-19 patients and families who are isolated or quarantined.

Again, the project would focus on risk communications and community engagement for increased awareness and compliance with prevention measures engaging the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Information and other agencies.

READ ALSO: Ghana To Become Africa COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturing Hub

So far, Ghana has vaccinated about 1,230,000 people out of which 376,000 have had their full COVID-19 dosage. This represents 1.2% of the total population.

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