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UNICEF Receives CAD$70 Million to Boost Vaccine Access and Take-Up

By: , January 20, 2023
UNICEF Receives CAD$70 Million to Boost Vaccine Access and Take-Up
Photo: Donald De La Haye
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (left), shares in discussion involving (from left) High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica, Emina Tudakovic; Acting United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative, Vicente Teran; and Minister of International Development for Canada, Hon. Harjit Sajjan. Occasion was the launch of Canada’s Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE) at the International Seabed Authority in Kingston recently.

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Measures being undertaken by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines have been bolstered through a donation of Can$70 million.

The funds, provided through Canada’s Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE), will be used to support interventions to decrease COVID-19-related mortality and morbidity in 11 countries, including Haiti, Colombia and Jamaica, with a special focus on vulnerable priority groups.

The other countries are Bangladesh, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania.

Speaking at the launch of CanGIVE at the International Seabed Authority in Kingston recently, Acting UNICEF Country Representative, Vicente Teran, said that the agency “appreciates very much the generous donation received from the Government of Canada”.

He said that the support will not only increase access to but also the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in the selected countries.

“The contribution will also strengthen gender-sensitive primary healthcare services, including routine immunisation, and water, sanitation and hygiene services, which will help the listed countries to be better prepared to respond to future public health emergencies,” he added.

As it relates to Jamaica, he said that the support will place the country on a solid foundation as it “transitions from managing COVID-19 as an acute global emergency, towards integration and strengthening of primary healthcare to be more resilient to future challenges”.

Mr. Teran noted that it will further allow UNICEF and the Ministry of Health and Wellness to continue the development and implementation of the digital COVID-19 vaccination information management system, as well as the establishment of oxygen plants at various hospitals.

“The funds will allow for the expansion and modernisation of the immunisation programme in several areas, and ensure greater access for Jamaicans, as well as greater efficiency for the hard-working public health workers, who have capably steered us through the past two years,” he said.

Mr. Teran noted that UNICEF is also pleased to be working closely with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in support of the Health Ministry’s ongoing efforts to engage vulnerable groups.

This, by ensuring that “they are well informed and able to protect themselves, since we continue to face the fact that the pandemic is not yet over. UNICEF stands ready to work with our partners to ensure a successful implementation of this initiative”.

Canada is a top-10 contributor to UNICEF’s programmes worldwide. The partnership with Canada covers a wide range of programmed areas, with a special focus on girls and women, and vulnerable populations.

Under CanGIVE, PAHO will receive Can$45 million to bolster vaccine access across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Last Updated: January 20, 2023

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