World Bank provides $56 million additional financing to help Lesotho, Malawi and regional institutions increase their actions
WASHINGTON, June 19, 2020. The World Bank Board of Directors approved $56 million additional financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help deepen the development impact of ongoing activities aimed at addressing Southern Africa’s complex tuberculosis (TB) and HIV epidemic and the closely related occupational lung diseases (OLD).
The Additional Financing for the Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support Project (SATBHSSP) aims to improve coverage and quality of TB control and OLD services in targeted areas in the Kingdonm of Lesotho and in the Republic of Malawi, and to strengthen regional capacity as well as country-level and cross-border preparedness and response to disease outbreaks.
TB is the main cause of death among people living with HIV in Southern Africa, considered as the epicenter of both diseases which mostly affect people in the prime of their economic productivity. The high TB burden is closely associated with poverty and the persistently high HIV prevalence among the general population and also among vulnerable populations such as miners, their families and surrounding communities. Despite improvements over the last two years in Lesotho and Malawi, TB treatment coverage is limited, many cases are not detected and treatment outcomes are below expectations. Moreover, public health efforts towards effective TB control are hampered by the lack of a strong referral system and a continuum of care across borders as many miners with TB –who migrate from neighboring countries to mining areas in South Africa – are lost to follow-up.
“Only a concerted regional and multisectoral effort to improve TB/HIV and OLD prevention, treatment, and control can change the trajectory of the sub-region’s dual epidemic”, said Ms. Deborah Wetzel, World Bank Director of Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. “The success of an improved treatment depends upon harmonized diagnostic and treatment protocols, including a continuum of clinical care across borders to ensure adherence to treatment, as well as scale-up of innovative approaches to track patients, ensure effective referrals mechanisms, and share lessons within and beyond the sub-region”.
The newly approved financing will enhance TB case detection and treatment and will roll out a standardized package of occupational health services and mining safety standards across participating countries. It will support regional capacity for disease surveillance by improving quality and availability of human resources in targeted areas, strengthening mine health regulations, and by supporting COVID-19 response and integrated TB and OLD care. Moreover, it will help the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) and the African Union Development Agency – New Partnership for Africa Development (AUDA-NEPAD) to promote regional learning and innovation and to continue supporting SATBHSSP beneficiary countries in the areas of disease surveillance, capacity building, and occupational health policy and legislation.
The new financing brings the total World Bank financing for SATBHSSP to $178 million, covering Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The project epitomizes the strong commitment and leadership of the four countries in working across sectors and borders to address the challenges posed by the TB and HIV
co-infection and OLD. It also aligns with the World Bank Group’s twin goals of reducing extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing 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. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.