Asian Development Bank approves $165 million loan for Covid-19 vaccines in NepalThe finance will support Nepal to procure an estimated 15.9 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which will benefit about 6.8 million people.
The Asian Development Bank on Thursday approved $165 million, around Rs19.7 billion, for Nepal to purchase safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus disease.
The said amount will support the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan in Nepal by procuring an estimated 15.9 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which will benefit about 6.8 million Nepalis, the multilateral funding agency said in a statement.
“Asian Development Bank’s support will help Nepal to procure much-needed Covid-19 vaccines to protect its citizens from the further spread of this disease,” said the bank’s President Masatsugu Asakawa. “It is essential that Covid-19 vaccines are quickly purchased and administered to help get the economy back on track by enabling the restoration of livelihoods and economic activities, as well as the resumption of educational and human development pursuits.”
The project is financed by Asian Development Bank’s $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to offer rapid and equitable vaccine-related support to its developing member countries, including Nepal.
Vaccines eligible for financing must meet at least one of the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility eligibility criteria: the vaccine has been selected for procurement through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) mechanism; the vaccine has been prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) or WHO emergency use listing; or the vaccine has received regular or emergency licensure or authorization by a Stringent Regulatory Authority, the bank said.
In addition to this project, funding agency’s ongoing technical assistance grants will support the strengthening of the vaccine delivery system, communication and community engagement to raise awareness on the risks of Covid-19 and the benefits of vaccination.
The government is mobilising female community health volunteers to disseminate information among marginalized communities to raise awareness. At least one female health worker or volunteer will support the effort in every vaccination site or outreach center.
The bank said it would closely collaborate with other partners, like the World Bank, COVAX, World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund, in supporting Nepal in its efforts to vaccinate its people as soon as possible.
The project will complement the government’s broader response through its $1.2 billion National Relief Programme, which consists of social protection, health care, and economic relief measures. In May 2020, the bank provided support to the program through a $250 million concessional loan.