IDB US$30.4M loan to support COVID-19 response
Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony says Guyana can access the recently approved Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) US$30.4 million ($6.08 billion) loan as part of continued COVID-19 response.
According to the IDB, the loan falls under the programme which “supports minimum income levels, and preserve the human capital of those affected by the pandemic.” The loan was approved earlier this month.
During Monday’s COVID-19 update, Dr. Anthony said while Guyana is poised to receive its first 20 per cent of the COVID-19 vaccine through COVAX, funds will be used to prepare for the roll-out.
“When you get vaccines, you have to store them somewhere so you have to get cold storage as well as a cold chain for transporting them. In addition to that, persons would have to be trained to administer the vaccines… Hence, some of the monies we have received from these institutions are going into that.
In addition to this, while we wait on a vaccine, people have to protect themselves. You would know in protecting your health workforce, you’re required to have personal protective equipment,” he said.
Dr. Anthony explained that the personal protective equipment (PPE) utilised by healthcare workers – masks, gowns, face shields and shoe covers – are disposed of after each use. As such, these items would have to be procured in bulk.
“It’s a very costly thing to have because you can imagine every country in the world is trying to get their hands-on PPEs for their own population of healthcare workers. So, this has been a major cost for us.”
The IDB is also raising some US$1 billion to acquire and administer the COVID-19 vaccines in the Region. Minister Anthony explained that while some countries will be able to access a percentage of the COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX, they would have to purchase more as the need arises. The IDB announced it will be mobilising funds assist those countries.