PRETORIA – The World Bank has announced that it has approved over R140 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to help Sierra Leone respond to the threat posed by the Coronavirus outbreak and also strengthen the country’s public health system preparedness.
In a statement, the financial institution said the funds will fill critical financing gaps that have been identified due to the new emergency preparedness and response needs created by the global pandemic.
It was indicated that the Sierra Leone Covid-9 emergency preparedness and response project will support the prevention, detection and response to the threat posed by the virus, and will finance the provision of medical supplies, laboratory diagnostic equipment, including test kits in the designated health facilities.
“In addition, it will provide for optimal medical care and treatment at isolation units, as well as train health facilities staff and front-line workers on risk mitigation measures,” read the statement.
This project will support the government of Sierra Leone in strengthening the health systems and preparedness in response to the global pandemic of COVID-19,” said Gayle Martin, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone.
“Building on the experience of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the World Bank is committed to use all its operational and policy instruments and to work with all partners in helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country.”
In a separate fund, the World Bank is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the Covid-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery.
The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the International Finance Corporation is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs.
“As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery,” concluded the statement.
In a similar initiative, the the bank has also approved over R373 million to support Senegal in its response to the threat of the global Covid-19.
“Senegal has built its response to Covid-19 on successful experiences in containing disease outbreaks in recent years through timely identification and response.
“The Bank is confident that the project will be implemented efficiently and in close coordination with all relevant partners and stakeholders,” World Bank Country Director Nathan Belete said.