El Banco Mundial aprueba US $ 150 million para apoyar la vacunación against COVID-19 in Ecuador

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WASHINGTON DC, April 5, 2021 – The World Bank’s board has approved additional funding of $ 150 million for the COVID-19 emergency response project in Ecuador. This is the first operation funded by the World Bank in Latin America and the Caribbean for the purchase of vaccines against COVID-19. The new resources will be used to purchase and distribute vaccines and to support the management of the pandemic in the country.

Ecuador is one of the worst affected countries in the region. Although the entire population has been affected by the crisis, young women and low-skilled workers are particularly vulnerable to the economic consequences of the pandemic, as many of them have lost their jobs. In 2020, the poverty rate increased by around 8 percentage points, representing more than 1.3 million people, and the inequality gap widened.

“We have always said that the priority of the economic agenda during the pandemic was and continues to be health. We have received support from multilateral entities, including US $ 150 million from the World Bank. These resources are intended to finance immunization and are the result of the efforts of a credible economic program, which serves the most vulnerable populations while promoting economic stability and the recovery of the country. I appreciate the confidence in the government. We will continue to work for everyone, especially in the area of ​​health, which is the national priority,” noted the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mauricio Pozo.

With the approved funding, the government hopes to immunize about 30 percent of the population. Vaccines purchased with these resources must meet strict World Bank vaccine approval criteria. In addition, these resources will be used to strengthen the management of supply chains and logistics for vaccine storage and handling; the purchase of personal protective equipment for nursing staff; and information and communication campaigns to promote access to vaccines. The funds will also help the Ecuadorian government to monitor and evaluate vaccine distribution.

“One year after the start of a health crisis of unprecedented social and economic impact, the vaccine offers hope”, noted Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Mobilizing immunization financing is essential to achieve equitable, broad and rapid access to safe and effective vaccines” he said.

To coordinate immunization activities effectively and efficiently, the World Bank collaborates with other multilateral banks, including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF). It receives technical assistance from the World Health Organization-Pan American Health Organization (WHO – PAHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies of the United Nations system.

The additional funding expands Ecuador’s COVID-19 emergency response project, which was approved on April 2, 2020. This project, one of the first of its kind to be approved in the region, supports the country’s efforts to purchase equipment and supplies to increase the number of intensive care units and isolation rooms, as well as protective equipment for health workers and a communication campaign for health workers.

The additional financing is a variable rate and fixed spread loan with a term of 18 years, including a grace period of five years.

World Bank Group Response to COVID-19

The world Bank, one of the most important sources of finance and knowledge for developing countries, takes wide and fast action to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes the United States $ 12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatment, and strengthen immunization systems. Funding is based on all World Bank Group Response to COVID-19, which helps more than 100 countries strengthen their health systems, support the poorest households and create favorable conditions to maintain the livelihoods and jobs of those hardest hit.

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