The Government of Japan has pledged Ksh 212million to Kenya as part of a grant of about Ksh 1.2 billion to 11 countries in the East and Southern Africa region.
A statement from the Japanese embassy said the donation is aimed at improving the cold chain capacity for COVID-19 vaccines roll out.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya, Japan has been contributing to the fight against the virus by providing medical equipment and PCR test kits,” Ambassador of Japan to Kenya HORIE Ryoichi said.
“Japan is now committed to supporting the improvement of the vaccination programmes all over the world by contributing about 21.2 billion Kenya Shillings to the COVAX facility, an international mechanism led by Gavi, CEPI, WHO and UNICEF.”
The funds will support Kenya in its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, especially through the procurement of equipment for vaccine storage, distribution and continuous temperature monitoring, the envoy noted.
The funding will also be used to support the installation of new equipment and provide training to the healthcare workers on how to operate the equipment.
“However, having the vaccination itself has no meaning if the country does not have sound cold chain capacity,” the envoy noted.
“That’s why we decided to provide this emergency grant to ensure equitable access and swift distribution of vaccines in Kenya. Japan has decided to co-host the Vaccine Summit on 2nd June and I am sure that we will continue to contribute towards the global fight against COVID-19 including the enhancement of vaccine access.”
At the same time, the embassy said the funds will also strengthen the existing immunization system so that Kenya will continue to benefit when the pandemic is over.
“UNICEF is very grateful to the Government of Japan for supporting children and families in Kenya at this time of need,” UNICEF Representative to Kenya Maniza Zaman said.
“As we work to leave no one behind, we must ensure that vaccines reach those in greatest need, wherever they live. Vaccines also protect the health care workers, teachers and parents who care for children. This new funding provided by Japan will provide a vital boost to the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in Kenya, while also protecting routine immunisation for children and strengthening the health system.”