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WBG earmarks US$52M for Liberia

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The New Dawn LiberiaThe World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors has approved US$105 million grant to finance Ebola-containment efforts underway in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

This will further the new Ebola Emergency Response project to mobilize US$52 million for Liberia, the country with the highest number of infections, while Sierra Leone is to receive US$28 million, and US$25 million for Guinea, respectively.

According to a press release issued in Monrovia by the Bank, the grant will help families and communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and rebuild and strengthen essential public health systems in the three worst-affected countries to guard against future disease outbreaks.

It added that the new grant is part of the US$200 million Ebola emergency mobilization first announced by the WBG in early August.

The release also mentions that the allocations were calculated in line with the World Health Organization’s Roadmap and assessments of the relative severity of the epidemic in each country.

The WBG said that it would almost certainly mobilize more financing for the countries since the immediate response is still significantly under-resourced for the purposes of curbing the deadly Ebola outbreak.

Presenting the new project to the WBG Board of Executive Directors, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, a medical doctor trained in the treatment of infectious diseases, said the Ebola grant would have a long-term regional development impact. He said it was an important part of a coordinated international response led by the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

“The world needs to do much, much more to respond to the Ebola crisis in these three countries,” said President Jim Yong Kim, adding, “This new World Bank grant, which will arrive soon in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, will have an immediate, positive impact on their collective Ebola containment campaigns. I would like to personally thank our Board of Directors for responding so quickly to this crisis.”

In its project document for the new operation, the WBG notes that the Ebola-related restrictions on people’s movements, “is leading to food crises in the quarantined and most affected areas where the three countries intersect.

It furthered that in the Mano River region, food insecurity is spreading rapidly and that more than one million people in the region are facing a food crisis in the coming months. The Bank warns that as the crisis continues to evolve, this threat may spread to other areas due to quarantine and other disruptions in the movement of goods and people.

The release narrated that the new project will finance key priorities in the three countries to implement their Outbreak Response Plans while also providing essential health services during the outbreak to help them to secure sufficient numbers of national and international health workers for outbreak response and provision of essential health services, including food and water to quarantined families and communities, and other Ebola-affected households.

“I cannot praise the dedication and sacrifice enough of the health workers who form the backbone of the Ebola containment efforts in West Africa. This new WBG operation will provide them with the protective clothing and other medical equipment to keep them safe from the Ebola infection and will allow them to focus with more peace of mind on their frontline duty of delivering care and treatment to their patients,” says Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Africa.

“I also want to acknowledge the tireless work of the three governments in trying their best to contain this epidemic which as we know is the largest and most persistent Ebola outbreak anywhere in Africa since it was first discovered in 1976”, the release concluded.

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