ECONOMYNEXT – The World Bank said it is giving Sri Lanka 80.5 million US dollars to buy vaccines in a program that has already provided 298 million US dollars to the country to fight the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The World Bank remains responsive to the health priorities of Sri Lanka as well as emergency needs,” Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka said.
“Effective deployment of the vaccines will help Sri Lanka protect people, build human capital and facilitate inclusive economic recovery.”
The additional financing comes under the agency’s COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Project to “purchase and deploy safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that meet the World Bank’s Vaccine Approval Criteria and prepare for the future, the lender said.
“The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to protecting our population from the impacts of the pandemic, and we have placed high priority on strengthening and expanding the COVID-19 vaccination programme,” 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.”
Unlike Pakistan and India, Sri Lanka has not allowed the private sector to import approved vaccines.
Sri Lanka earlier barred private hospitals from doing Coronavirus tests and the state National Medical Regulatory Authority raided a private hospital that had imported test kits.
It is not clear whether the action was unique in human pandemic history or whether it has happened in any other country in the Coronavirus or any other pandemic. (Colombo/May14/2021)