WASHINGTON, May 22, 2020— The World Bank has approved a €90 million package to help Belarus take effective and timely action to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening the country’s national healthcare system.
The project will address the health system’s immediate needs for medical equipment, supplies, and training to treat severe cases of COVID-19, including through provision of modern ventilators, pain medication, and antibiotics, as well as personal protective equipment for health workers.
Furthermore, the project will finance communications activities to promote social distancing and hygiene best-practices that can prevent the spread of infections among the population.
“This project will help save the lives of Belarusians by providing critical equipment to the health sector,” said Alex Kremer, World Bank Country Manager. “It will have the most impact when combined with social distancing measures, including preventing large gatherings, reducing physical presence in workplaces and educational establishments, and reducing non-essential movements, all of which will save lives and help mitigate longer-term economic impacts. The earlier such measures are implemented, the better the outcomes for people’s lives and livelihoods.”
The project will also strengthen public health laboratories and epidemiological capacity for early detection, confirmation, and reporting of cases. It will finance medical supplies and equipment to help detect COVID-19, including testing kits, personal protective equipment, laboratory reagents, and training. In addition, the project will help with the acquisition and distribution of modern ambulances and essential ambulance equipment.
This project complements longer-term World Bank support to Belarus’ health systems, including the ongoing Belarus Health Systems Modernization Project, and a potential future project to support hospital consolidation and long-term care that has been requested by the Government of Belarus.
Since the Republic of Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992, lending commitments to the country have totaled $1.9 billion. The active investment lending portfolio financed by the World Bank in Belarus includes nine projects totaling $942.71 million.
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. We will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans.