WASHINGTON, October 2, 2019—The World Bank Group approved this week a total amount of $220 million in International Development Association (IDA)* and $60 million in International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)** financing to strengthen health systems and support effective disease surveillance in Central Africa. This is the fourth project under the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Program (REDISSE).
The REDISSE program is multi-sectoral and aims to strengthen national and regional capacity to address disease threats at the human, animal, and environmental interface which is the source of most known epidemic-prone and novel pathogens. “It addresses the gaps and weaknesses in disease surveillance, preparedness and response systems across all participating countries [Angola, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Republic of Congo] and supports country-led efforts to increase the resilience of the animal and human health systems to better prevent and control infectious disease outbreaks”, says Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Burundi.
The new project will provide a platform for high-level policy and regulatory harmonization with a cross-sectoral approach aimed at improving cooperation and coordination of disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness in Central Africa. Most specifically, it will reinforce the capacities of the human and veterinary public health systems of participating countries. It has also been designed to provide rapid financing to address disease outbreaks and other health emergencies should the need arise.
REDISSE 4 complements other World Bank-funded initiatives to strengthen health systems and health security and pandemic preparedness in Africa: “We are happy to expand the REDISSE program to Central Africa where the Democratic Republic of Congo is currently fighting a protracted battle against the second largest Ebola outbreak in history and neighboring countries are ramping up surveillance and response capacity to reduce the risk of cross-border transmission”, said Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa. “The new project aligns with our strategy to promote collective action to address fragility risks. Our support will help beneficiary governments to tackle some of the worst diseases and save lives,” she added.
With the approval of REDISSE 4, the REDISSE Program now represents a significant investment of $662 million from the World Bank Group to support disease surveillance, diagnostics, human resource development and emergency response systems capacity. Through REDISSE 4, Angola will receive $60 million in financing, Chad will receive $30 million, Central Africa Republic $15 million, DRC $150 million, the Republic of Congo $15 million. The Program is also providing $10 million to the Economic Community of Central African States Secretariat (ECCAS) which will house the project’s implementing entity.
* 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 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.