Ebola is far from over


- World Bank President

NOVEMBER 20, 2014

World Bank Group president, Jim Yong Kim
World Bank Group president, Jim Yong Kim

The deadly Ebola outbreak is far from over and the international community must continue to do everything it can to support countries hard-hit by the disease until zero infection rate is achieved, said World Bank Group president, Jim Yong Kim, as the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors Tuesday announced an additional US$285 million grant to finance Ebola-containment efforts underway in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The additional financing, he said, will enable the three countries to deploy additional national and international health workers, scale up community-based care and community engagement for early detection of suspected Ebola cases, more rapid confirmation of infection status, strengthened treatment and care, and safe burials to curb the epidemic.

The funds approved will be deployed by the governments of the three countries with the support of UN agencies, and they will go toward helping communities in the three countries cope with the socio-economic impact of the crisis and rebuild and strengthen essential health services.

“With this additional financing, the World Bank Group is responding to the critical needs identified by the affected countries to step up their fight against Ebola,” said Mr. Kim. “This deadly outbreak is far from over, and the international community must continue to do everything we can to support these countries until we get to zero cases.”

The grant is part of the nearly US$1 billion previously announced by the Bank for the countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis.

The grant provides additional financing to the Ebola Emergency Response Project approved by the Bank’s Board on September 16, including US$72 million for Guinea, US$115 million for Liberia and US$98 million for Sierra Leone, the three countries most-affected by Ebola, a World Bank release said.

The announcement brings the total financing approved so far from the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) Crisis Response Window (CRW) for the Ebola response to US$390 million. The CRW is designed to help low-income IDA countries recover from severe disasters and crises.
In addition, the project will support an increase in diagnostic capacity for Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, by addressing logistical constraints and increasing laboratory resources for testing to reduce the time in confirming Ebola cases, the release said.

It will improve and increase storage and distribution of essential supplies, and address specific social issues caused by the Ebola outbreak. The project will also help establish a regional network of public health institutes in West Africa that include disease surveillance and preparedness. This support will be critical to prevent the spread of the Ebola epidemic to neighbouring countries as well as to develop a timely and effective regional pandemic response in the future.
“It is important to create health systems that are resilient and which can respond quickly to this kind of crisis. This means increasing efficiency, providing incentives to doctors and other health workers fighting the disease, and establishing the right kind of facilities so these countries can respond rapidly to the changing situation on the ground,” said Makhtar Diop, the Bank’s vice president for Africa.
“By enabling a surge of trained health workers, strengthening community-based care, triage, and diagnostic capabilities and restarting public health services, this additional support will help Ebola patients well as those suffering from non-Ebola health conditions to get the essential care they need,” said Tim Evans, the Bank’s Senior Director for Health, Nutrition, and Population.

The World Bank Group is mobilizing nearly $1 billion in financing for the countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis. This includes more than $500 million for the emergency response and at least $450 million from the IFC – a member of the World Bank Group – to enable trade, investment and employment in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A previously released World Bank Group analysis shows that if Ebola continues to surge in the three worst-affected countries and spreads to neighbouring countries, the two-year regional financial impact could reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015, dealing a potentially catastrophic blow to already fragile states, the Bank said.

According to the World Health Organization, as of November 14, 2014, there have been 14,413 reported cases of Ebola in eight countries—mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone—since the outbreak began, with 5,177 reported deaths.