WASHINGTON, May 11, 2021 – The World Bank has approved a new $90 million project to scale-up Ukraine’s health sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project, Ukraine Emergency COVID-19 Response and Vaccination, will support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination to priority groups among the population and strengthen the capacity of Ukraine’s health care sector to prevent, detect, and respond to the impacts of the pandemic.
The project aims to help the country not only procure COVID-19 vaccines, but also improve the infrastructure for vaccine storage and logistics: this includes organizing service delivery, cost reimbursement for vaccine providers, expanding testing capacity, strengthening the IT system, and carrying out a vaccination public awareness campaign.
The government of Ukraine will finance the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to eligible groups of the population by introducing a separate vaccination package in the Program of Medical Guarantees administered by the National Health Service of Ukraine (NHSU). The project will provide reimbursement of expenditures to NHSU for vaccination of about 10 million people and ensure that vaccines are administered effectively to priority population groups as defined by Ukraine’s National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Roadmap.
“This new loan will help Ukraine with purchasing and deployment of vaccines, including through, but not limited to, the COVAX global initiative. Ukraine has already started vaccinating priority population groups, but the critical objective at this stage is to accelerate the pace of vaccination, while keeping a focus on people with a high risk of getting infected and those most likely to develop COVID-related complications,” said Arup Banerji, World Bank Regional Country Director for Eastern Europe.
The World Bank previously provided $57 million in lending to support Ukraine’s COVID-19 response in the health sector. Part of this support became available in April 2020, when Additional Financing for the ongoing Serving People, Improving Health Project (SPIH) was repurposed, which included $35 million in financing for the country’s COVID-19 response.
In addition, the SPIH project was restructured to reallocate $22 million for the purchase of equipment and strengthening of laboratories, including scaled-up testing. These funds helped Ukraine procure critical materials and equipment to fight the pandemic and provided reimbursement of expenditures by service providers for interventions in suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
World Bank Group Response to COVID-19
The World Bank, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes $12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments, and strengthen vaccination systems. The financing builds on the broader World Bank Group COVID-19 response, which is helping more than 100 countries strengthen health systems, support the poorest households, and create supportive conditions to maintain livelihoods and jobs for those hit hardest.