AfDB approves $2m to assist WHO reinforces capacity against COVID-19

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has approved $2 million emergency assistance for the World Health Organisation (WHO), to reinforce its capacity to help African countries contain COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued by the Bank’s Communication and External Relations Department on Wednesday it said the fund would also help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

AfDB said the grant, which was in response to an international appeal by the WHO, would be used to equip Regional Member countries to prevent, rapidly detect, investigate, contain and manage cases of COVID-19.

It stated that this is one of the Bank’s several interventions to help member countries address the pandemic which it said was slow to arrive in Africa.

The development bank stated that the virus was spreading quickly and also straining already fragile health systems.

The Bank said WHO Africa region would specifically use the funds to bolster the capacity of 41 African countries on infection prevention, testing and case management.

It added that WHO Africa would also boost surveillance systems, procure and distribute laboratory test kits and reagents, and support coordination mechanisms at national and regional levels.

“This grant will enable Regional Member Countries to put in place robust containment measures within 48 hours of COVID-19 case confirmation and also support the WHO Africa Region to disseminate information and increase public awareness in communities.

“The grant will contribute toward a 50 million dollars WHO Preparedness and Response Plan, which other partners including the United Nations system, are also supporting.

“It is estimated that Africa will require billions of dollars to cushion the impact of the disease as many countries scramble together for contingency measures, including commercial lockdowns, in desperate efforts to contain it.

“Globally, factories have been closed and workers sent home, disrupting supply chains, trade, travel, and driving many economies toward recession.

“The Bank Group is expected to unveil a financial assistance package that will enable governments and businesses to undertake flexible responses to lessen the economic and social impact of this pandemic” it explained.

Last Thursday, the Bank had raised an exceptional $3 billion in a three-year social bond, the proceeds from which will go to help alleviate the economic and social effects of the pandemic.

The bond was the largest dollar-denominated social bond launched in international capital markets to date.

AfDB approves $2m to assist WHO to reinforce capacity against COVID-19

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