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Africa News of Friday, 4 June 2021

Source: newvision.co.ug

Japan gives Uganda over $1.6 million grant to fight COVID-19

President of  Uganda,  Yoweri Museveni President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni

The Government of Japan has extended an emergency grant worth $1,640,442 (sh5.8b) to Uganda to boost the country’s COVID-19 response.

The assistance channelled through the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF, will provide Uganda with cold chain equipment including medical equipment such as cold-storage facilities and transportation, as “Last One Mile Support” to ensure vaccination in the country.

Uganda is among 31 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa that have benefited from a $39m Japanese Government emergency aid extended to countries suffering from the impact of Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

“Currently, ensuring equitable access globally including in developing countries and accelerating vaccination is the common challenge for the international community towards the goal of containing COVID-19. Japan has been contributing to formulating the COVAX Facility, an international mechanism for the procurement of vaccines, and has already made financial contribution of US$200 million,” Hidemoto Fukuzawa, the Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Uganda was quoted as saying in a statement.

Japan’s emergency aid grant, this time around aims to deliver vaccines to each and every person in all corners of developing countries, which will complement the efforts of the COVAX Facility.

COVAX, the vaccines' pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi - the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner. UNICEF is handling the procurement and delivery of the vaccines and related supplies on behalf of the COVAX Facility.

“Based on our experience in helping to build medical supply networks that reach every corner of developing countries, Japan will continue to extend support to deploy vaccines to every person in the world with a view to containing COVID-19 as quickly as possible,” noted Fukuzawa.

The UNICEF Representative in Uganda, Dr. Safieldin Munir, said the funds will be used to procure solar direct drive vaccine refrigerators (106), cold boxes (190), vaccine carriers (2,200), generators (10) and support cold chain repairs and maintenance.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant consequences not only in Uganda but the world over. The children have not been spared either. UNICEF is supporting the Government of Uganda and working with different partners to make every effort to protect children, including through our efforts to build more resilient communities,” Munir was quoted as saying.

Munir expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan for this timely assistance which will go a long way to support the Government of Uganda COVID-19 vaccination efforts and ensure that all the vaccines received in the initial phase from the COVAX facility and Government of Uganda are fully used in time.

The grant comes at a time when the International Monetary Fund has agreed to give Uganda a $1bn (about sh3.5 trillion) loan to tackle COVID-19 and its impacts.

In March last year, the Government of Japan committed approximately $ 2.7m to the United Nations for various development and humanitarian initiatives in Uganda.

The contribution aims to support refugees and host communities, as well as border security over a period of one year from April 2020 to March 2021.

The support has been extended to four UN agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The official announcement of this contribution towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic was made by Kameda Kazuaki, the then Ambassador of Japan to Uganda, during a press conference at the Uganda Media Center in Kampala.

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