Japan has provided MVR 15.9 million to UNICEF Maldives to assist the Maldivian government manage its COVID-19 vaccine program.
The assistance will be utilized to assist the Maldivian government continue building a sustainable immunization supply chain system.
UNICEF Maldives states the assistance will be used for the provision of Cold Chain Equipment (CCE) for COVID-19 vaccines, including dry ice making machines, walk-in freezers and ice lined refrigerators, and logistical support for the installation of CCE; strengthening the capacity of government staff including technicians on operation and maintenance of CCE; strengthening the capacity of health care facility staff on use and monitoring of the CCE; and supporting the government in strengthening COVID-19 cold chain and vaccine management with coordination/consultation, data collection/analysis and policy/regulatory formulation.
Maldives is one of 25 countries in Southeast and Southwest Asia and Pacific Island region that the Japanese government is supporting with cold chain equipment as “Last One Mile Support” to ensure vaccination through UNICEF. It is designed to complement efforts of the COVAX Facility.
UNICEF Maldives has been an integral partner in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been supporting the Maldivian government with public communication and engagement around demand generation and addressing vaccine hesitancy for the COVID-19 vaccines including public advocacy, community mobilization and training sessions for key partners as well as strengthening immunization cold chain systems through procurement of key equipment and provision of technical expertise.
Japan, one of Maldives’ key bilateral partners, has committed grants totaling USD 7.5 million to assist Maldives during the COVID-19. This includes USD 5.6 million to the Maldivian government to equip and improve the health services at atolls and regional hospitals across Maldives, USD 1.4 million to UNDP Maldives in support of small and medium enterprises in agribusinesses affected by COVID-19 and, USD 356,400 to UNICEF Maldives and USD 185,000 for the Maldives Red Crescent to complement the government’s effort to respond to COVID-19.
In addition to these grants, the Japanese government has also extended a USD 47.5 million loan as COVID-19 crisis response emergency support.
The Japanese government has stated they hope the latest assistance will enhance swift distribution of vaccines and ensure the government’s inclusive approach to providing free and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines not only for Maldivians but also for all people reside in Maldives.