WASHINGTON, May 7, 2018—The World Bank today approved $120 million in International Development Association (IDA)* financing to build stronger health systems and more effective disease surveillance in West Africa. This is the third project under the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Program (REDISSE).
REDISSE 3 will help address systemic weaknesses within the human and animal health sectors that hinder effective disease surveillance and response in Benin, Mali, Niger and Mauritania. It will also be able to provide rapid financing to address disease outbreaks and other health emergencies should the need arise.
“This project helps make real our commitment to work across West Africa to strengthen national and regional cross-sectoral capacity for collaborative disease surveillance, which are a key element of global pandemic preparedness,” said Tim Evans, Senior Director of Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “REDISSE is assisting countries with managing infectious disease outbreaks so that they do not exact an unacceptable toll on people's lives and on national economies.”
The 2014-15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which killed over 11,000 people and devastated economies, made clear the critical importance of strengthening national disease surveillance systems and inter-country collaboration to detect and respond to outbreaks of communicable diseases before they become deadly epidemics.
With the approval of REDISSE 3, the REDISSE Program now represents a significant investment of $382 million from IDA and a Multi-Donor Trust Fund to support disease surveillance, diagnostics, human resource development and emergency response systems capacity. Through REDISSE 3, Benin and Mali will each receive $30 million in financing, Niger will receive $40 million and Mauritania $20 million. The REDISSE Program is also providing IDA funding to Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO).
“REDISSE 3 represents a major step forward to build regional epidemic preparedness by enhancing countries’ national surveillance and reporting systems, strengthening their laboratory capacity and improving local, national and regional capacities to prepare for and respond effectively to disease outbreaks,” said John Paul Clark, Senior Health Specialist and the project’s Task Team Leader, World Bank Group.
The REDISSE Program, developed with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and technical support from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is being implemented as an interdependent series of projects that will eventually engage and support all 15 countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in a regional network for health security.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans 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 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.