WASHINGTON, April 14, 2020 — The World Bank approved today a $5 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA)* to respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness in Burundi.
The project will provide immediate support to Burundi to prevent COVID-19 cases and restrain local transmission through containment strategies. It will also strengthen coordination and a referral medical laboratory network by training health personnel and providing equipment to laboratories at national and decentralized levels. It will also prepare and equip health facilities to treat patients and help develop efficient mechanisms for community-based disease surveillance and communication.
“This support will help the government’s efforts in putting systems in place for preparedness, treatment, and containment of COVID-19. This is particularly important as it will strengthen Burundi’s public health system in this highly rural and densely populated country,” said Jean-Christophe Carret, Country Director for Burundi, Democratic republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.
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. This immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. International Finance Corporation is providing $8 billion in financing to this effort to help private companies affected by the pandemic and to preserve jobs. International Bank of Reconstruction and Development and IDA are making an initial $6 billion available for the health response. In order to provide broader support to meet country needs, 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 International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides 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. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since its inception, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.