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The World Bank has raised funds again to facilitate countries in purchasing Covid-19 vaccines. This time, the size of the fund would be $2 billion or Tk200 crore for 17 countries including Bangladesh.

Earlier, Bangladesh received $500 million from the World Bank for the same purpose. However, the World Bank has yet not disclosed how much money Bangladesh will receive from the new fund. The amount of Bangladesh’s share at the fund would be finalised through negotiations.

On 20 April, World Bank announced the new fund. Its focal countries are Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gambia, Honduras, Lebanon, Mongolia, the Philippines, Rwanda, Tajikistan and Tunisia.

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The new fund would be utilised in vaccine purchase and supply.

However, sourcing vaccines becomes a big challenge for many countries.

The World Bank has relaxed terms and conditions to avail the fund. Countries accessing the fund can purchase Covid vaccines through COVAX or other sources. Besides, the fund can be used in health system development, purchasing medical equipment, personal protection equipment, building vaccine store or providing training for health workers and other purposes.

Former lead economist at the World Bank’s Dhaka office, Zahid Hussain told Prothom Alo, “There is no problem with fund sourcing for the vaccine purchase. The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other development partners would raise necessary funds. But sourcing vaccines has now seemed a big challenge. We are observing the harsh consequences of depending on a single source of the vaccines."

Earlier, the World Bank raised $14 billion fund for nine countries including Bangladesh and Nepal. Bangladesh received $500 million from the fund.

Last year, Bangladesh received an emergency fund of $100 million to combat the Covid-19 situation. Besides, the country accessed World Bank loan of $1.5 billion for some economic restoration programmes.

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