World Bank injects Shs600b in govt Covid-19 response 

L-R: World Bank Uganda country manager, Mukami Kariuki, Finance minister Matia Kasaija and Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng during the signing of the financing agreement of $180.3 million for the additional funding of the Uganda Covid-19 response and emergency preparedness project (UCREPP). PHOTO/ FRANK BAGUMA

What you need to know:

  • The World Bank has been the largest financier of Covid-19 related needs in Uganda since the outbreak of the disease in the country in March 2020.  

More than 11.7 million people in Uganda will get vaccines following the signing of the financing agreement of $180.3 million (more than Shs633b) for the additional financing of the Uganda Covid-19 response and emergency preparedness project (UCREPP).
 The World Bank has been the largest financier of Covid-19 related needs in Uganda since the outbreak of the disease in the country in March 2020.  
 Speaking during the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development yesterday, the World Bank country manager, Ms Mukami Kariuki, said: “This signing ceremony is the first we have held since the start of Covid-19 pandemic. I, therefore, hope it marks a turning point and want to congratulate the Government of Uganda and the Minister of Health and her team, in particular for the significant progress made to date.”
 Ms Mukami said the original UCREPP was approved by the World Bank’s board of executive directors on July 15, 2020 and became effective on August 3, 2021.

She added that project financing in the amount of $15.2 million (Shs53.3b) was directed towards: preventing, detecting and responding to Covid-19 and strengthening national systems for public health emergency preparedness in Uganda.
“The resources will provide for the vaccination of 11.7 million people and spur the rapid deployment of vaccines into the arms of eligible persons. The Project will also spur the scale-up of key activities laid out in the national Covid-19 response plan, in the areas of disease surveillance, case management and emergency medical services,” she said. 

She added: “Finally, to ensure continuity of essential health services, support will be provided for much-needed infrastructural improvements to health facilities, laboratories, and blood storage capacities.” 
Ms Mukami explained that the additional Financing, approved on December 16, 2021, brings the total financing for UCREPP to $195.5 million ($180.3 +$15.2 million), representing the largest Bank-financed health sector project in Uganda to date. 
Furthermore, with the additional financing provided as 100 percent grant, the World Bank’s overall support for Covid-19 response stands at 90 percent in grant resources—co-financed through: International Development Association (IDA), the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, the Global Financing Facility, and the IDA Sub-Window for Host Communities and Refugees.

She further stated that the World Bank’s financing for the Covid-19 health response is part of a larger corporate endeavor to support countries better confront the challenges presented by the pandemic. To date, globally, the Bank has provided financing of $7.6 billion to 84 countries for Covid-19 vaccine rollout. The support to Uganda is, thus, a demonstration of the Bank’s commitment to the country, but also to its vision to vaccinate 1 billion people globally.
“We are honoured to have been part of Uganda’s national response to Covid-19 and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the leadership and technical teams of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Ministry of Health, Development Partners, and Civil Society as well as the Ministry of Health and World Bank technical teams who worked together to deliver this Project in record time,” she said.

Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said: “It took a concerted effort of the Government of Uganda to mobilise resources to respond to this unprecedented disaster. The Ministry of Health is grateful that the World Bank was among the first development partners to join this fight.”
 Dr Acenge said the World Bank has since committed a total of $30.2 million (Shs106b) towards the pandemic. The World Bank disbursed $15 million (Shs52.6b) through the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC) under the Uganda Reproductive Maternal and Child Health Services Improvement Project (URMCHIP), $2.7 million (Shs9.5b) under the UCREPP Grant and $12.5 million (Shs43.9b) credit under UCREPP Parent Project. 
 “Today, we are witnessing the signing of the Additional Financing Agreement of $180.3 million (Shs632.7b) which will be spent on procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, deployment and civil works,” she said. 

 Dr Aceng further stated that vaccination is the safest and most cost-effective way for the prevention, control and even eradication of infectious diseases.
 “In the absence of an effective treatment, vaccination therefore remains an important control measure for the Covid-19 Pandemic,” she said.  
 Giving the status of the vaccination in Uganda, Dr Acenge said 18,265 people which represents 3 percent of the people who are eligible to get booster dose have already theirs, 6,976,874 which represents 32 percent have already been fully vaccinated, while over 13 million people have received their first dose. 

 She announced that the Ministry of Health is going to begin another massive vaccination round soon, stressing that there are now more than six types of Covid-19 vaccine available in Uganda. 
 The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr Matia Kassaija who signed the financing agreement called upon Ugandans to stop resisting the Covid-19 vaccination because it is useful and it is not harmful as it has been said by some people.

 “I don't want Ugandans to die, I want Ugandans to live for 100 years. The vaccines are available, I don't want to hear of anybody dying of Covid-19 when he or she has not been vaccinated as it has been reported,” he said.

 Mr Kasaija promised the World Bank that the money will be used for what it's meant for and called strike accountability from the officers responsible it Mr Kasaija also warned the general public Uganda that Covid-19 is still around and remains dangerous to people’s lives and the economy and such, he explained that what has happened in Uganda is the disease being suppressed. “We have to continue practicing SOPs and wearing masks.
  “The government has spent money but when you go into the village this thing (Mask) is not there,” he said.