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PRESS RELEASE April 17, 2020

El Salvador and Honduras to receive support from the World Bank to strengthen their response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Each country will have US$20 million to purchase hospital and intensive care supplies and equipment and invest in training for health personnel.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 2020 – The World Bank approved two loans of US$20 million each to support El Salvador and Honduras’ immediate response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. These projects, prepared in an expedited manner, will allow both countries to invest in laboratory and hospital equipment, including ventilators, respirators, beds and special equipment for intensive care units and supplies for the protection of health care personnel, among others.

“We are working closely with countries to support their response to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, with the aim of saving lives and detecting, preventing and treating contagions,” said Seynabou Sakho, World Bank Director for Central America. “We continue to collaborate with the governments of El Salvador, Honduras and the countries of Central America with rapid actions to provide additional support to strengthen their health systems and address this emergency, including the activation of emergency components of projects under implementation and the swift preparation of new projects.”

The US$20 million “El Salvador COVID-19 Emergency Response Project” aims to help prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen the national public health system. The Project will allow El Salvador to invest in:

· Hospital equipment such as ventilators, respirators, vital sign monitoring systems, beds and equipment for intensive care units,

· Medical supplies, including medicines, vaccines and supplies for the protection of health personnel,

· Training for health personnel in public hospitals, and

· Communication and health education efforts for citizens and health personnel, including culturally appropriate educational materials for vulnerable populations.

The US$20 million “Honduras COVID-19 Emergency Response Project” aims to help detect and respond to the COVID-19 threat in Honduras and will allow the country to invest in:

· Hospital equipment and for intensive care units,

· Medicines and medical supplies, including protective gear for health personnel, hygienic and biosafety materials, and equipment for laboratories, isolations units and international sanitary offices in the country,

· Technical assistance and training for health workers on standards and protocols for case management, patient care and infection prevention, and

· Operational support for rapid response teams to investigate and contain contagion.

The US$20 million loan for the “El Salvador COVID-19 Emergency Response Project” has a final maturity of 25 years, including a 5-year grace period, and the US$20 million credit for the “Honduras COVID-19 Emergency Response Project” has a final maturity of 30 years, including a 5-year grace period.

As part of the World Bank’s immediate support to Central American countries for COVID-19, including the rapid preparation of new projects and the activation of emergency components in active projects, the following were recently approved:

· a US$119 million development policy credit for Honduras, aimed at strengthening its financial and institutional framework to manage risks from disasters and health emergencies, which will allow the country to access immediate resources for its response to the pandemic, and

· a disbursement of US$41 million from development policy loan for Panama, which promotes the strengthening of the national agenda for disaster risk reduction and which will support the country’s actions to face the health emergency caused by the pandemic.

World Bank Group COVID-19 Response

The World Bank Group is rolling out a US$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 US$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 US$160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.

To learn more about the World Bank’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean, please visit here.

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En Centroamérica
César León
+503 2526-5900
En Washington
Anne Davis
+1 (202) 458-4822