WASHINGTON, April 2, 2020 — The World Bank today approved a $7.5 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to help Sierra Leone respond to the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness. 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.
The government has activated the Public Health Emergency Operations Center and developed a national COVID-19 preparedness plan, which focuses primarily on strengthening surveillance at the three official points of entry, improving case management, and conducting effective campaigns at the national, subnational and community levels. The Sierra Leone COVID-19 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.
“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.”
The World Bank Group 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. The International Finance Corporation is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and IDA are making an initial $6 billion available for the health-response. 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.
* 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.