ADB approves $50 million grant for Afghanistan’s COVID vaccine campaign
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday approved a $50 million grant to help the Afghan government procure and deploy safe, high-quality COVID-19 vaccines, and strengthen the country’s capacity to implement its vaccine program.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_The ADB said in a statement that the project will support the National Plan for COVID-19 Vaccination in Afghanistan by procuring and transporting six million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for priority segments of the population, as determined by the government.
“Making vaccines available to vulnerable groups and strengthening Afghanistan’s immunization program will help to save lives and is a vital step toward recovery.
This support is part of ADB’s strong commitment to helping Afghanistan overcome the pandemic and achieve a sustainable economic recovery,” Asakawa said.
Under its national plan, the Afghan government aims to vaccinate all eligible people including vulnerable groups, approximately 60 percent of the total population.
ADB’s COVID-19 Vaccine Support Project will provide financing to procure vaccines for at least 2.6 million people, or about 11 percent of the eligible population, including through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (#COVAX)
Advance Market Commitment facility.
The grant will also strengthen the Ministry of Public Health’s capacity in planning,
communications, coordination, and implementation of the vaccine program at national and provincial levels.
According to the ADB, technical training including specialized gender sessions will ensure that vaccines are administered to women in a culturally sensitive manner and a waste management firm will be engaged to build capacity for proper disposal of medical waste.
ADB estimates that Afghanistan’s GDP contracted by five percent in 2020 as the pandemic forced business closures and disrupted supply chains.
Unemployment is projected to have risen from 23.9 percent in 2019 to 37.9 percent in 2020 adding to the negative pressures of increased costs of food,
housing, and health services.
ADB’s grant complements other development partners’ efforts and contributes to fostering growth in the #Central_Asia_Regional #Economic_Cooperation region through addressing pandemic risks and cross-border health threats.