WASHINGTON, April 20, 2020 — To assist the Kingdom of Eswatini in its efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19, the World Bank Group today approved $6 million in health emergency funding for a project that will help strengthen the country’s health system preparedness to respond to this and potential future emergencies.
This new COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Program, is designed to help minimize the risk of further imported cases and limit local transmission. It will support the implementation of the Eswatini’s COVID-19 National Contingency Plan by providing technical assistance and financing for the procurement of goods and equipment to strengthen disease surveillance systems and the in-country testing capacity as well as support epidemiological investigation, risk assessment, screening, isolation and follow up of travelers at points of entry and provide on-time data and information to guide decision-making and mitigation activities.
The project will also help improve the implementation of social distancing measures and strengthen communication preparedness. Furthermore, it will support the health care system for preparedness planning to provide optimal medical care, maintain essential community services and minimize risks for patients and health personnel. This includes training health facilities’ staff and front-line workers on risk mitigation measures and providing them with the appropriate protective equipment, as well as with water supply, sanitation and hygiene materials, and health care waste management services.
“Working together with other development partners, the World Bank Group is committed to moving quickly to assist the Government in its COVID-19 response to save lives and protect the livelihoods of the people of Eswatini, particularly the most vulnerable in society,” said World Bank Country Director for Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly. “The government’s engagement with the private sector is also critical to saving livelihoods in this time.”
The World Bank Group is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response, increase disease surveillance, improve public health systems, and help the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. It is planning to deploy up to $160 billion in financial support over the next 15 months to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.