WASHINGTON, April 2, 2020 — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $7.3 million Maldives COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project to help the country prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen its public health preparedness. In addition, a $10 million contingency financing, under Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Financing with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT DDO), signed in 2019, has also been made available to support Maldives.
The new fast track package of $7.3 million will help Maldives provide optimum care to patients, procure personal protective equipment and medical supplies, support hospitals to maintain essential services, strengthen intensive care and cope with a potential surge in demand, strengthen the capacity of laboratories in the capital Male’ and the atolls to diagnose the coronavirus, and train medical staff to manage COVID-19 cases. The project will also support risk communication, community engagement and behavior change, focusing on Male’, where transmission is more likely, due to high population density.
“The World Bank’s new emergency financing will help the Maldives government alleviate the impact of COVID-19 and help it strengthen health services and acquire medical resources necessary to protect and treat all Maldivians,” said Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “The additional $10 million will help to mitigate the risks and vulnerabilities associated with the health crisis.”
The project is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional credit window for developing countries, through the World Bank Group’s Fast Track COVID-19 Facility. It will be implemented by the Ministry of Health with support from existing World Bank Group projects in the country.
World Bank Group COVID-19 Response
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 IFC is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. IBRD and IDA are making an initial US$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.