WASHINGTON — The World Bank last week approved $10 million to help Bhutan scale up its vaccination program against COVID 19, including providing booster doses to the eligible population.
The additional financing to the COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project will help Bhutan procure safe and effective COVID 19 vaccines; enhance the country’s testing capacity; and strengthen health systems for tackling future health emergencies.
“Offering COVID-19 vaccination for children above 5 years old and boosters for all eligible populations, this financing will help meet the additional demand for vaccines to cover 28,000 people, avail 193,976 booster doses and strengthen the national health systems for longer-term pandemic preparedness,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“Bhutan is a shining example globally for containing the COVID 19 pandemic by taking quick actions for both launching a strong emergency health sector response and rolling out an effective vaccination program. Today, about 98.5 percent population above 12 years have received two doses of vaccines,” said Adama Coulibaly, World Bank Resident Representative for Bhutan.
This Additional Financing builds on the ongoing COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project, which includes testing equipment, RT-PCR and Antigen Test Kits, consumables, hygiene products, PPE to 50 hospitals and 184 primary health centers and additional Intensive Care Units in four COVID centers. The project has also helped enhance the testing capacities of five laboratories, administered vaccines to 45,000 people above 12 years old and provided booster doses to another 135,000 population above 18 years old.
“The World Bank is happy to support the Royal Government of Bhutan’s efforts to prevent, test, trace, treat and manage the COVID-19 pandemic cases in all 20 districts,” said Sangeeta Carol Pinto, World Bank Senior Operations Officer and Task Team Leader for the Project. “The additional financing will help further ramp up procurement of vaccines and diagnostic kits.”
World Bank Group COVID-19 Response
From April 2020 to March 2022, the World Bank Group committed over $200 billion to public and private sector clients to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history. The financing is helping developing countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump start a climate-friendly recovery. The Bank is also supporting over 70 low- and middle-income countries, more than half of which are in Africa, with the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.