SL, World Bank sign deal to assist Covid vaccination

Sri Lanka and the World Bank have signed an $80.5 million additional financing deal to help the island nation access and distribute Covid-19 vaccines and to strengthen the country’s inoculatio system and pandemic response.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank country director for Sri Lanka, said the global lender remained responsive to the health priorities of Sri Lanka as well as emergency needs, reports Xinhua news agency.

Effective deployment of the vaccines would help Sri Lanka protect people, build human capital and facilitate inclusive economic recovery, Faris said.

The second additional financing to the Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Project is to purchase and deploy safe and effective jabs that meet the World Bank’s Vaccine Approval Criteria; to strengthen relevant health systems that are necessary for successful deployment; and to prepare for the future, the World Bank statement said.

“The government of Sri Lanka is committed to protecting our population from the impacts of the pandemic, and we have placed a high priority on strengthening and expanding the Covid-19 vaccination program,” Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said.

“This useful and timely resource will help us to ensure equitable vaccine deployment among the eligible population of Sri Lanka.”

The Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Project with a total of $298.07 million has contributed to Sri Lanka’s pandemic management and prevention efforts.

Project funds have supported the provision of essential works, goods, services, and consultancies for emergency pandemic management and prevention activities, including the procurement of medical and surgical consumables.