World Bank approves fresh $114.28m for sub-national fight against COVID-19

By Victor Uzoho |   11 August 2020   |   4:29 am  


The World Bank Board of Directors has approved a $114.28 million funding to help Nigeria prevent, detect, and respond to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a specific focus on state-level responses.

The facilities are a $100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), and another $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEFF).

Through the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (CoPREP), the Federal Government would provide grants to the 36 states, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as immediate support to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission, and limit the spread through containment and mitigation strategies.

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According to a statement released at the weekend by the World Bank, made available to The Guardian, the grants were conditioned on states that are adopting the COVID-19 response strategies, which are in line with the federal government’s guidelines and strategies.

The statement said CoPREP would enhance the institutional and operational capacity for disease detection through the provision of technical expertise, coordination support, detection, diagnosis, and case management efforts in all states and the FCT, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines in the Strategic Response Plan.

Commenting on the project, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said the initiative would help Nigeria mobilize surge response capacity through trained and well-equipped frontline healthcare workers, and strengthen the public healthcare network for future health emergencies.

He said the project would provide the states with the needed direct technical and fiscal support to strengthen their position in combating the pandemic, adding that Nigeria has ramped up its efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic but needs to do more at the states level.

The statement also said the project would finance the federal procurements of medical equipment, laboratory tests, and medicines to be distributed to the states based on their needs.

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It complements the Second Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Project (REDISSE II), which is already providing short-term emergency support to implement national and state Incident Action Plans.

According to the statement, so far, all the 36 states have incident action plans cleared by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), while funds have already been disbursed to 23 states.

CoPREP will finance further support to all states and the FCT through the NCDC to implement their COVID-19 Incident Action Plans. Specifically, this includes the operationalization of 37 Emergency Operations Centres, training of 30,000 healthcare workers in infection prevention and control, and support for emergency prioritized water sanitation and hygiene activities.

The funds will also strengthen risk assessment, community and event-based surveillance, provision of on-time data to inform the response and mitigation activities, support to laboratories for early detection and confirmation.

It will also support the equipping and renovation of isolation and treatment centres including community support centres, and help improve the patient transfer systems through the financing of ambulances and training as needed.

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