Sri Lanka, World Bank sign 80.5-mln-USD additional financing to assist COVID-19 vaccination

Sri Lanka and the World Bank have signed an 80.5-million-U.S. dollar additional financing to help Sri Lanka access and distribute COVID-19 vaccines and to strengthen the country’s vaccination system and pandemic response, a statement from the World Bank said on Saturday.

Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank country director for Sri Lanka, said the World Bank remained responsive to the health priorities of Sri Lanka as well as emergency needs.

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 COVID-19 vaccines 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,” Sri Lankan 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 U.S. dollars 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.