The World Bank says that it has made $82m available to strengthen Nigeria’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $82m was made available through the World Bank’s Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Project. The development was disclosed in a statement released by the World Bank Group on Tuesday.
Nigeria was excluded from the first set of beneficiaries of the World Bank’s COVID-19 Emergency Health Support programme which was inaugurated last week following approval by the bank’s Board of Executive Directors. The emergency support programme was aimed at strengthening developing countries’ response to the pandemic.
But in a statement entitled ‘World Bank Support to Nigeria on COVID -19’, which was made available to our correspondent on Tuesday, the Bretton Woods institution said it was providing assistance to Nigeria and other African countries. “The World Bank Group is moving quickly to provide fast and flexible support to Nigeria and other African countries in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing direct and long-term financial support over the next 15 months.
“In Nigeria, the World Bank has already made $82m available for immediate support in strengthening the public health response through the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Project,” the statement said. The bank added that it had been asked to provide a multi-pronged package of support over the next six months to strengthen Nigeria’s preparedness for the immediate health crisis. It further disclosed that it was providing the Federal Government with budget support for a pro-poor stimulus package and the long-term recovery.
The World Bank noted that efforts to protect livelihoods and support local economic activity over the next 18-24 months would be critical in mitigating the economic and human impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement further disclosed that the World Bank and its partners were discussing with state governments and relevant federal agencies on ways to protect livelihoods of poor and vulnerable families and support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to enable recovery.
Through the REDISSE project, about $10.6m had already been committed to support the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in strengthening states’ emergency operation centre, the statement added. The project is supporting the construction, renovation and equipping of treatment centres across eight states. It is also assisting in bringing in essential medical supplies such as drugs, test kits and personal protective equipment for frontline health workers.
The World Bank’s International Development Association, established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero interest loans for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. The statement noted that the IDA’s annual commitments had averaged about $21bn over the last three years, with about 61 per cent going to Africa.