Following alarming evidence of the spread of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the World Bank Group on Thursday, September 25, 2014 announced that it will nearly double its financing to $400 million to help the worst-affected countries address the emergency and build stronger health systems for the years to come.
This represents $170 million in new funding. With the September 25th announcement, the Bank will put $230 million toward the emergency response and $170 million for medium- and long-term projects.
According to a release, the new resources which the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors will consider in the coming weeks will be targeted at quickly increasing the health care workforce and purchasing needed supplies in order to bring care and treatment to every part of the affected countries.
The funding also is meant to build a more vigorous health care system because it will aim to train cadres of health workers to bolster care at a community level throughout the affected region.
“The global community is now responding with the urgency and the scale needed to begin to turn back this unprecedented Ebola crisis,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, who also spoke September 25, 2014 at a special session on the Ebola crisis at the United Nations.
He also stated that the real challenge now is to bring care and treatment to the most remote areas as well as the cities and then to build a stronger health care system. This funding, according to him, will help the countries start a massive scale up of training of community health workers and bring needed supplies and equipment.
Meanwhile, the World Bank Group previously announced that it was mobilizing $230 million for the three countries hardest hit by the crisis, including Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and a $117 million emergency response.
This support coordinated closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN), the United States (US) and other international and country partners have assisted countries in treating the sick, cope with the economic impact and improve their public health systems. The additional planned support will make $113 million that had been earmarked in the previous package for long-term help immediately available for the emergency response.
The new package will have $170 million allocated in medium- to longer-term assistance for the countries’ health systems. Thousands of lives have been claimed in the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa than in all previous Ebola outbreaks joined since the discovery of the disease in 1976.