Kenya has secured an additional Sh14 billion from the World Bank to boost its efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds which were approved by the World Bank Executive Directors will facilitate affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

In a statement, World Bank Director for Kenya Keith Hansen said the additional financing is timely and comes at a time the government is making concerted efforts to contain the rising cases of the virus.

“The upfront financing for the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines will enable the government to expand access to more Kenyans free of cost,” he stated.

“This additional financing will enable Kenya to procure more vaccines via the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) initiative and the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facilities. It will also support the deployment of those vaccines by boosting Kenya’s cold chain storage capacity, including establishing 25 county vaccine stores, strengthening the capacity of 36 sub-county stores, and equipping 1,177 health facilities with vaccine storage equipment,” he said.

Other activities that will be funded include vaccine safety surveillance, training for health workers, advocacy and communication to encourage COVID vaccine intake among Kenyans.

This is the second additional financing for the Kenya COVID-19 Health Emergency Response Project after Sh10 billion that was approved under the Contingency Emergency Response Component of the Transforming Health Systems for Universal Care Project.

So far the World Bank has contributed Sh26.5 billion to Kenya’s COVID-19 response.

By June 29, Kenya had recorded 183,603 with 3,621 fatalities and 125,388 recoveries.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group has committed over $125 billion worldwide to fight the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic, the fastest and largest crisis response in its history.

The financing is helping more than 100 countries strengthen pandemic preparedness, protect the poor and jobs, and jump start a climate-friendly recovery.

The World Bank is also providing $12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.