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The World Bank sets to ship COVID-19 vaccine as mass screening rolls on.

However, Burundi is the least affected on the regional scale with fewer infections and deaths Photo Thadde Ndikumana Burundi’s Health Minister/Photofile

Burundi’s anti-coronavirus taskforce has given a green light to the World Bank to bring into the country vaccine doses after it has addressed his will in correspondence to grant jabs to Burundi’s government. 

In a press conference last month, the Ministry of public health and the fight against AIDS and the spokesperson of the anti-coronavirus taskforce, Dr. Thaddée Ndikumana said that the committee has agreed to allow the World Bank to ship to the country vaccine doses.

“The committee has accepted the offer of the World Bank, but the Government of Burundi will not bind to any rules such as to afford any secondary effect that may arise after the jab is administered”, said Dr. Ndikumana.

However, said the Ministry, Burundi is keen to screening and proving intensive health facilities to those tested positive for coronavirus.

Asked about the number of doses or when the first doses would arrive in the country, the ministry of public health did not provide any further details. In the meantime, he said that a team will be set up to receive the jabs in due time. 

Dr. Thaddée added that any institution that would like to bring vaccines in the country is welcome but the government will not be subjected to any malfunction. Therein getting the vaccine will be by one’s will.

The news came after the first people have been administered the jab. Only United Nations and Non-Governmental Organization officials have been vaccinated about two weeks ago.

A week ago, after realizing the spike of infections (5% of infected) in three national centers including Kirundo (In North), Ngozi (in Centre), and Bujumbura mayorship (Economic town), the ministry of public health underwent a mass screening campaign.

Similar campaigns were initiated by Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayimiye. The first kicked start in June 2020 after taking the oath and a second at the beginning of 2021. 

Cumulative data from the Ministry and Burundi’s WHO show that 403 662 people have been tested since March 2020, of which 6 715 have tested positive for coronavirus while 6 070 (97%) have been discharged from hospital facilities. 

As of July 27, 2021, the Ministry reported a new fatality which took the tally to 9 fatalities. The same day, 2971 tests have been conducted from whom 131 (highest number of the month) came positive while 68 patients were discharged from hospital facilitities.

Part of containing the virus, Burundi has not imposed strict measures except closing nightclubs and obliging two tests after landing at the international Ndadaye airport. In addition, for nationals entering Burundi, the test costs $30 and foreigners $100. 

So far, screening centers have been implemented at Gatumba (West) and Kobero (East) border posts. If tested positive as said by the ministry, infected are bound to quarantine at their homes or in a hotel of their choice.

In the East African Community (EAC), Burundi is the only country that has not yet officially get any jab while other states have received the first doses. On Wednesday, the president of Tanzania launched a vaccination campaign.

However, Burundi is the least affected on the regional scale with fewer infections and deaths.

While the World Bank was allowed to bring over in the country vaccine doses, the International Monetary Fund on its part granted on Wednesday non-refundable debt of $78 Million to fight against the pandemic.

“Burundian authorities and International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff have concluded a referendum deal on economic and structural policies to be backed up with a release of about $78 Million”, said in a statement Dr. Mame Astou Diouf, Head of Burundi’s IMF bureau.

She added that the fund under the rapid credit facility will also support the authorities’ efforts to address the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.”

Espoir Iradukunda
Espoir Iradukunda
Data Investigative Journalist


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