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Health Ministry Gets US$52M

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has received from the World Bank US$52 Million Dollars for the Emergency Ebola Response Project for the period of six months.

Dr. Walter Gwenigale, Ministry of Health & Social Welfare

The World Bank in recent time provided US$105 Million to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone as an emergency grant to respond to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the three hit nations. Out of the US105 Million donated by the World Bank Liberia has gotten the largest portion of US$52 Million grant.

Speaking at the signing and turning over ceremony of the US$ 52 Million at the head office of LIBTELCO in Sinkor, Finance Minister Amara Konneh said the government of Liberia have entered three contractual agreements with some key development partners, including the WHO, UNICEF, UNOPS and WFP for the provision of what he called critical and much needed goods and services in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease.

He noted that the US52 Million is intended to underwrite the cost of running existing Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) for the next six months setting up new ones quickly; and ensuring that the country’s medical personnel and patients have everything they need to fight the disease. He, however, said the government of Liberia is very grateful to health workers in the country for their tireless efforts in fighting the virus.

For his part the proxy of the World Bank Country Director in Liberia, Timothy Bulman said the Finance, Health and Agriculture Ministries have worked as one team to convince development partners to develop investment plans for the World Bank funds. He said the World Bank provided US$105 million as an emergency grant to respond to Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

He noted that Liberia received the largest share (US$52 million) of this grant for the next 6 months, adding that the project became effective on September 19, 2014 in Liberia. Bulman said the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning, Health and Social Welfare, and Agriculture of Liberia worked as one team to convene development partners to develop an investment plan for the World Bank funds.

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He indicated that the investment plan addresses the country’s immediate priorities, including the support to Ebola treatment units (ETUs), revitalization of essential health services, risk allowances to Ebola workers and health workers under high-risk environment, surveillance and social mobilization, and food and water supply to quarantined and Ebola-affected households.

He added that according to the plan, the Government of Liberia contracts out a part of the implementation of the investment plan to UN Agencies with specific technical and operational strengths.

He said WHO supports the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other technical services, UNICEF procures essential drugs and supplies and provides water supplies, WFP provides food to quarantined and Ebola-affected population, and UNOPS supports the procurement of ambulances. This was a truly collaborative effort under the leadership of the Government of Liberia.

Speaking earlier at the ceremony Health Minister Welter Gwenigale said it was initially difficult for the ministry to fight the virus due to the lack of funding. He noted that the fight is getting somewhere with the financial interventions of the International community.

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