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How the health department will use the R7.6bn World Bank loan

22 June 2022 - 08:00
The World Bank loan will finance the procurement of 47-million Covid-19 vaccine doses and boost SA's health system. File photo.
The World Bank loan will finance the procurement of 47-million Covid-19 vaccine doses and boost SA's health system. File photo.
Image: 123RF/bumbledee

The department of health has welcomed the R7.6bn loan from the World Bank which it will use towards paying for Covid-19 vaccines procured by the government between December 2020 and June 2021 and pay for “other priority Covid-19 response activities”.

The department said the financial agreement between the World Bank and the National Treasury “will establish an enabling environment for other donors, multilateral development banks and UN agencies to further support vaccination efforts in the country.”

It called on young people, the majority of whom are unvaccinated for Covid-19, to get vaccinated.

“We urge our people, especially youths, to vaccinate in numbers and also get booster doses to enhance their level of immunity against the current and future variants of concern as the country is getting closer to achieving population immunity. Vaccine remains the best weapon against Covid-19 and we cannot afford vaccine hesitancy. 

“This struggle cannot be won as long as adolescent and young people don’t vaccinate and remain at increased risk of mortality and morbidity associated with HIV infections, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy-related complications and other preventable and treatable health conditions,” said the department. 

The World Bank and the Treasury announced last week they had reached a financial agreement to boost SA’s Covid-19 programme and health system.

The loan was granted in response to a request by the government for assistance in financing vaccine procurement contracts and to help it “create the fiscal space needed to strengthen its health system and ensure financial and institutional sustainability”.

National Treasury acting director-general Ismail Momoniat welcomed the loan.

“The loan forms part of government efforts to reduce debt service costs by making use of cheaper sources of funding through multilateral development banks, while supporting the health system to respond to Covid-19 through the roll out of vaccines, critical research and treatment measures.”

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