KATHMANDU, March 1: The World Bank (WB) is providing a fast-track assistance of Rs 2.92 billion (US $ 25 million) to Nepal to purchase coronavirus vaccine and to carry out related works.
According to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the multilateral donor agency has decided to provide funds support to Nepal. The MoF officials said the government will sign an agreement with the WB after cabinet approval.
As of now, the government has disbursed Rs 1 billion to purchase the vaccines. After the Covid-19 pandemic hurt the economy and government revenue has been hit, the government has been facing a resource crunch to spend on the urgent purchase of vaccines.
According to a government’s estimation, the country needs Rs 48 billion for inoculating 52 percent of around 30 million population. Of Nepal’s total population, only 72 percent will have to be vaccinated as the existing vaccines have not been tested on children up to 14 years of age, and this segment of the population will not be vaccinated.
The World Health Organization’s COVAX facility will provide vaccines for 20 percent of the population free of cost. However, the government has to rely mostly on the foreign aid to purchase the rest of the quantity for inoculations.
Last April, the WB had also provided a fast-track $ 29 million COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project to help Nepal prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen its public health preparedness.