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World Bank Ready To Expend $400 Million To Contain Ebola Crisis


…Considers Significant Assistance To The Worst Hit Countries

From Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja.

Following alarming evidence of the spread of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the World Bank Group has announced that it will nearly double its financing to $400 million to help the worst hit countries in addressing the emergency and build stronger health systems for the years ahead

A release made available by the bank in Abuja indicated that with this announcement, the World Bank would put $230 million to the emergency response and $170 million for medium- and long-term projects in those countries.

The new resources – which the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors will consider in the coming weeks will be targeted at rapidly increasing the health care workforce and purchasing needed supplies in order to bring care and treatment to all parts of the affected countries.

The funding also is aimed at building a stronger 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 was speaking today at a special session on the Ebola crisis at the United Nations.

“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 will help the countries start a massive scale up of training of community health workers and bring needed supplies and equipment.

The World Bank Group previously announced that it was mobilizing $230 million for the three countries hardest hit by the crisis—Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone—including a $117 million emergency response.

This support which is coordinated closely with the World Health Organization, the United Nations, the United States, and other international and country partners – has 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 earlier package for longer-term help immediately available for the emergency response.

The new package will have $170 million set aside in medium- to longer-term assistance for the countries’ health systems

More people have died in the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa than in all previous Ebola outbreaks combined since the virus was first discovered in 1976.

A World Bank analysis, released last week, found that if the virus continues to surge in the three worst-affected countries, its economic impact could deal a potentially catastrophic blow to these already fragile states.

However, the analysis also found that economic costs can be limited if swift national and international responses succeed in containing the epidemic and mitigating fear resulting from people’s concerns about contagion, which is fueling the economic impact.

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