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PRESS RELEASE February 1, 2021

World Bank Commits US$5m for Solomon Islands’ COVID-19 response

Support will focus on continued prevention and control of coronavirus
together with longer term support for the health sector

HONIARA, February 1, 2021 – The World Bank has approved a US$5 million emergency project for Solomon Islands to support the country’s COVID-19 preparedness and response while also strengthening critical health systems. The nation-wide project will provide immediate assistance that is designed to complement activities supported by other development partners.

The project will support prevention, preparedness, and emergency response activities for COVID-19 in Solomon Islands, including providing personal protective equipment and supplies to front line health workers; enhancing case detection and contact tracing; strengthening quarantine facilities in areas bordering Papua New Guinea and isolation units in the provinces; mobilizing health care workers (including laboratory technicians); and supporting operating expenses for the response.

“This timely assistance, along with support from other partners, will enable Solomon Islands, and particularly the provincial health systems, to be better prepared to prevent and respond to any further coronavirus cases along with any future pandemics,” said Pauline McNeil, Solomon Islands Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services. “This project will directly support and complement the Government’s Consolidated National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 that was issued in March and updated in August 2020.”

The project will also support health systems strengthening activities to ensure other critical health services are not interrupted due to COVID-19. This includes the upgrading of provincial hospitals (Tulagi and Helena Goldi         ); improving waste management at health care facilities; improvements to the national medical storage facility along with staff training; support for the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to establish a national emergency coordination center; and providing training in infection control and disease surveillance for health care workers.

“We are pleased to be standing with Solomon Islands in this challenging time. A significant COVID-19 outbreak in the country would put serious strain on the health system,” said Annette Leith, World Bank Resident Representative, Solomon Islands & Vanuatu. “This project will address critical gaps in the health system identified by the government. I am also pleased that through this project, intensive care services in some provincial areas will get critical upgrades to ensure that care can be effectively delivered to those outside Honiara.”

The World Bank is responding to emergency needs and economic impacts arising from the coronavirus pandemic across the Pacific, with COVID-19 operations approved for Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

The World Bank Group’s Operational Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

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. It is 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. The WBG is making available up to $160 billion over a 15-month period ending June 2021 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 and $12 billion for developing countriesv to finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.


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