Accra, Sept. 26, GNA – The World Bank Group has announced that it would nearly double its financing to $400 million to help the worst-affected Ebola countries to address emergencies and build stronger health systems for the years ahead.
A statement issued by the bank in Accra on Friday and copied to Ghana News Agency said this follows the alarming evidence of the spread of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa,
‘This represents $170 million in new funding. With today’s announcement, the Bank will put $230 million toward the emergency response and $170 million for medium- and long-term projects.’
The new resources which the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors would consider in the coming weeks would be targeted at rapidly increasing the health care workforce and purchasing needed supplies in order to bring care and treatment to all parts of the affected countries.
The funding also is aimed at building a stronger health care system because it would aim to train cadres of health workers to bolster care at a community level throughout the affected region.
‘The global community is now responding with the urgency and the scale needed to begin to turn back this unprecedented Ebola crisis,’ says World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, who addressed the Special Session on the Ebola crisis at the United Nations General Assembly.
The funding would help the affected countries to start a massive scale up of training of community health workers and bring needed supplies and equipment.
The World Bank Group previously announced that it was mobilising $230 million for the three countries hardest hit by the crisis Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone including a $117 million emergency response.
The support coordinated closely with the World Health Organisation, United Nations, United States, and other international and country partners has assisted countries in treating the sick, cope with the economic impact, and improve their public health systems.
The additional planned support will make $113 million that had been earmarked in the earlier package for longer-term help immediately available for the emergency response.
The new package would have $170 million set aside in medium- to longer-term assistance for health systems.
More people have died in the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa than in previous outbreaks since the virus was first discovered in 1976.
A World Bank analysis, released last week, found that if the virus continues to surge in the three worst-affected countries, its economic impact could deal a potentially catastrophic blow to the already fragile states.
The economic costs could be limited if swift national and international responses succeed in containing the epidemic and mitigating fear resulting from peoples concerns about contagion, which is fueling the economic impact.
The bulk of the emergency financing provided to date is $105 million in grants out of the $117 million package was approved by the World Bank Groups Board of Executive Directors on September 16, and is money provided in grants from the IDA Crisis Response Window.
The other $12 million in the emergency financing was reallocated at the end of August, from existing health projects in Liberia and Sierra Leone ($6 million per country) to make some funds immediately available.
As of Thursday morning the Bank had already transferred 80 per cent of the $117 million package to the three Governments and UN agencies with the remainder of funds to be disbursed by the end of the week.
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