The World Bank Board of Directors has approved an International Development Association (IDA*) grant of US$15 million to support the Republic of Burundi as it joins a state-of-the-art network of public health laboratories in East Africa.
The World Bank-supported East Africa Public Health Laboratory Networking Project connects Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with the aim of establishing a network of efficient, high-quality, and accessible public health laboratories for the diagnosis and surveillance of tuberculosis and other communicable diseases. The new grant will support expansion of activities to Burundi in order to scale up the regional project’s impact and effectiveness.
“With this Additional Financing, Burundi will have access to all the benefits of the East Africa Public Health Laboratories Network, including enhanced access to diagnostic services for vulnerable groups to contain the spread of diseases in cross border areas,” said Sheila Dutta, Task Team Leader of the Project. “Burundi will also participate in and benefit from regional drug resistance monitoring, disease surveillance and emergency preparedness, and training and research.”
The proposed Additional Financing complements the objectives of the ongoing Burundi Health Sector Development Support Project (FY10-13).
“We welcome the synergistic nature of this grant which will support a more comprehensive approach to health systems strengthening in Burundi as laboratories are an integral, but neglected, part of health systems. The program also includes a Results-Based Financing (RBF) component for the participating laboratories/district hospitals, which complements the objectives of the Health Sector Development Support Project,” said the Country Manager of Burundi, Mercy M. Tembon.
With Burundi’s participation in the laboratory networking effort, this IDA grant also helps to promote further collaboration among member countries of the East African Community.
According to Philippe Dongier, Country Director for Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania, “There is very strong support for Burundi’s inclusion in this partnership from its fellow EAC partner states, which are fully committed to utilizing a regional approach to strengthen laboratory and surveillance capacities. The project, notably, also involves a strong partnership with the East, Central, and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC).”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since its inception, IDA has supported activities in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.