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World Bank’s Global Response to COVID-19 on Track

Indonesia market COVID-19

Market venders in Jakarta, Indonesia are not yet experiencing their previous level of patronage, with COVID restrictions and social distancing still in place.


The World Bank is on track to meet the US$160 billion in COVID-19 response commitments and mobilization by the 2021 financial year. This monumental undertaking has seen support already provided to 108 countries, with US$6.3 billion spent on emergency health services alone. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, countries are facing challenges to all aspects of public service provision, global trade and movement, and the resilience of their health systems. With global infection rates surpassing 54 million (as of 17 November 2020) there is a need to respond both to the immediate health challenges posed by the pandemic, as well as looking toward the future, to ensure the broader social and economic impacts can be softened.

This acknowledges the broader impacts COVID-19 is having on increasing rates of extreme poverty, reduced universal health coverage and access to primary health services, and disrupted education provision. Analytical and technical support activities funded through the Advance UHC MDTF are also assisting some countries to reconsider how resources are being allocated and used to meet UHC priorities.

Work is underway to support countries through initiatives such as Building a Balanced Future, focusing on innovative solutions which can build more inclusive and sustainable economies that are resilient in the face of existing and emerging threats.


"The aim is to help manage the social and economic fall-out from the pandemic to minimise impact on the most vulnerable."
World Bank

Countries such as Vietnam and many of the Pacific nations, which managed to substantially avoid the pandemic through active public health measures, are still feeling the broader impacts of the pandemic on their communities and economies. Additional funding programs such as the Australia-World Bank Strategic Partnership Phase Two aims to support the Vietnam economy through private sector development, trade integration, and innovation with a strong focus on sustainability. Various additional partnerships are underway between governments, the World Bank and other development institutions to expand efforts from the immediate emergency health response. The aim is to manage the social and economic fall-out from the pandemic to minimise impact on the most vulnerable. This would prevent fundamental social services and protections such as universal health coverage and education from being pushed out of their reach.

These broader efforts and programs help to support countries through resilient recovery and further enables the work governments and ministries of health are doing to continue to prioritize UHC targets and promote the importance of adequate health financing even in times of economic uncertainty.

You can hear more about the World Bank’s road to economic recovery on The Development Podcast, with World Bank President David Malpass and Chief Economist Carmen Reinhart.