What the World Bank is doing
The World Bank supports countries in their efforts to prevent pandemics by strengthening veterinary and human health systems, as well as the bridges between them. Under IDA 19, the World Bank sharpened its focus on building crisis resilience including pandemic preparedness, committing to help at least 25 countries implement pandemic preparedness plans. Under IDA 18, the World Bank committed to help 25 countries develop preparedness plans. Exceeding this target, 46 countries have developed National Actional Plans for Preparedness (NAPHS) or a similar pandemic preparedness plan.
COVID-19 (coronavirus) poses a severe public health challenge that requires coordinated action and continued transparency around the world. World Bank support is currently focused on disease surveillance, food safety, and crisis response, sharing international experiences on managing similar crises, and impact analysis of the outbreak on the global economy. Over the medium term, work will focus on strengthening resilience to public health emergencies, drawing lessons from this emergency, and sharing these lessons with the rest of the world.
The poorest countries and most vulnerable populations are often hardest hit by global disruptions like these. The World Bank Group is closely coordinating with international partners to accelerate the international response to support countries to manage the global health emergency.
See more on what the World Bank Group is doing to help countries with COVID-19.
Regional Disease Surveillance Systems (REDISSE)
To enhance regional preparedness following the devastation caused by Ebola in West Africa in 2014 and 2015, the World Bank expanded IDA financing for the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) Program. The initiative is a series of projects to strengthen national, regional, and cross-sectoral capacity for integrated disease surveillance and response in 16 West and Central African countries.
The program has two objectives:
- to address systemic weaknesses within the animal and human health systems that hinder effective cross sectoral and cross border collaboration for disease surveillance and response, and;
- in the event of an eligible emergency, to provide immediate and effective response to said eligible emergency.
See more on REDISSE including its financing and recipient countries in the Results section.
Antimicrobials are drugs – such as antibiotics – that kill or control disease-causing microbes. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microbes mutate or adapt in ways that enable them to withstand antimicrobials, rendering treatments ineffective. AMR is dramatically accelerated by the over-use and misuse of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, in people and animals.
The World Bank’s 2019 report Pulling Together to Beat Superbugs found that AMR already causes 700,000 deaths per year. Without action, the death toll from AMR could rise even higher, to as many as 10 million deaths annually by 2050. The world’s poorest people --those living in low- and middle-income countries or in the increasing areas affected by fragility, conflict and violence-- are especially vulnerable.
Unchecked, AMR will hamper progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, harm economies and negatively impact human capital. If countries don’t act to stop the rise of AMR, its economic impact is projected to rise to more than $1 trillion annually after 2030.
To help prevent this, the World Bank is including interventions that address AMR containment in its health investments in the developing world. One example is the REDISSE program (above), which is upgrading public health and veterinary laboratories to strengthen capacities and collaboration. Another example is the East Africa Public Health Laboratory Networking Project, which focuses on resistant tuberculosis in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. A third example is the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project that contains AMR mitigation activities.
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Regional Investment Financing Project
The World Bank’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Regional Investment Financing Project supports (with $250 million) Ethiopia, Zambia, and the African Union (AU) in combatting epidemics and advancing critical public health priorities. In addition to linking existing public health institutions and pooling the capabilities of national health authorities, the project will establish laboratories, transnational surveillance networks, emergency-response mechanisms, and other public health assets designed to manage diseases on a regional and continental scale.
The activities and objectives of the project are closely aligned with Africa CDC’s five strategic pillars and the AU’s Agenda 2063, which aims to bring all communicable diseases on the continent under control by 2063.
Last Updated: Mar 02, 2020