The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $25-million grant to help the Government of Tajikistan procure and deploy coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines and strengthen the country’s capacity to implement its vaccination program.
“COVID-19 vaccines save lives and are vital to accelerating the economic recovery in Tajikistan and elsewhere,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “Through this project and by working in close cooperation with Tajikistan’s development partners, ADB reaffirms its commitment to helping the country overcome the pandemic and restore normal life as soon as possible.”
The project will support implementation of Tajikistan’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 vaccines. It will finance the procurement and delivery of around 3 million doses of vaccine with safety boxes and syringes for over 1.3 million people from priority groups, or about 14% of the population. The government is aiming to vaccinate around 62.5% of the total population, all those over 18 years old. The project will also finance international and national logistics to transport vaccines from their place of purchase to national, regional, and district health facilities. ADB will engage the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as the procurement agent under a turnkey contract.
The project will strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population to effectively manage the vaccination program and conduct gender- and age-sensitive outreach campaigns and trainings. These activities will be coordinated with the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program (CAREC) to ensure information and knowledge is shared with other member countries.
The grant is drawn from ADB’s $9-billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX) launched in December 2020 to offer rapid and equitable vaccine-related support to ADB developing member countries. Vaccines eligible for financing must meet the APVAX eligibility criteria: either they have been selected for procurement through the COVAX mechanism; or prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) or received WHO Emergency Use Listing; or have received regular or emergency licensure or authorization by a Stringent Regulatory Authority in the country of production.
The project builds on ADB’s earlier support for Tajikistan’s COVID-19 response. This includes a $50-million grant approved in June 2020 to help fund the government’s comprehensive response plan and countercyclical measures; a $2.5-million grant from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund approved last August to further support the government’s emergency response; and more than $1 million in grants for urgent medical supplies and personal protective equipment for health care staff.
Tajikistan joined ADB in 1998. Since then, ADB has become Tajikistan’s largest multilateral development partner, supporting a range of sectors from strategic road and energy infrastructure to food security and social services with about $2.2 billion in assistance, including over $1.6 billion in grants.
Established in 1966, the Asian Development Bank is owned by 68 members – 49 from the region. (Trend/Business World Magazine)