ADB grants USD 10 million for Covid-19 vaccination efforts in Maldives


Staff members of the Asian Development Bank step out of the Manila-based lender’s headquarters on February 17, 2009 (Photo/AFP)

The Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has granted a USD 10 million grant for a project to assist the Maldives in modernizing storage facilities and enhancing the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

According to a press release from Dai-Ling Chen, the ADB’s health specialist for South Asia, Maldives has seen early success with its COVID-19 vaccination program in 2021. It noted that the ADB support will be used to boost the efficacy and affordability of routine immunizations as well as ongoing booster and pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations. By strengthening the nation’s capability for vaccine delivery, monitoring, and cold storage, he continued, the project will close holes in the immunization system.

ADB revealed the project will construct a central cold storage facility in Hulhumale’ that is climate-resilient and powered by renewable energy, replacing the temporary facility in Male’ City. It has enough room to hold vaccines, medical supplies, and lab equipment in the proper manner with areas specifically designated for managing vaccine waste, repairing and maintaining cold chain equipment, and hosting a backup server for national immunization data.

To improve the distribution of vaccines and medical goods across the Maldives, the project will provide seven-speed boats, one each for the regions and one for the Greater Male’ Region, two refrigerated trucks, and two vans for immunization services in Male’.

ADB said its financing will promote the digitalization of vaccine information management by providing equipment to set up a national health data center and mobile devices for public health staff collecting data at all health centers. It will help link the national health networks to all islands, atolls, and Male’.

The project will help build the human resource capacity of the EPI, the national health data center, and the biomedical service unit to effectively manage COVID-19 vaccination and routine immunization programs.

The newly hired staff of the Ministry of Health will receive specialized training while health care workers involved in immunization initiatives will be trained on vaccination and disease control.