The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Government of Samoa have signed a grant agreement to provide support to the health sector to strengthen the country’s immunization program and procure cold chain equipment to safely transport vaccines, which is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through the regional System Strengthening for Effective Coverage of New Vaccines in the Pacific Project.

The 1.4 million US dollars grant will support the strengthening of routine immunization, with pending additional financing up to 3.7 million US Dollars for vaccines through the Vaccine Independence Initiative.

Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu have joined under the project, which is supported by UNICEF, financed by ADB, and implemented by the four Ministries of Health through loans and grants worth 25.1 million US Dollars.

Over 580,000 people across the four countries will benefit from the project, helping to improve overall immunization coverage rates and support greater efficiency of primary health services.

ADB’s assistance will finance investments to strengthen country immunization programs within the broader health system, while pooling resources for the procurement of rotavirus, pneumococcal conjugate, and human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines though an established UNICEF supply facility. These vaccines will provide a broader range of protection to girls and children.

The project will also deliver new vaccines to reduce the incidences of pneumonia and diarrhoea in children and protect young girls against HPV to reduce the risk of cervical cancer, which is a leading cause of premature mortality in women in the Pacific.

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