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‘World Bank funding will boost gov’t efforts to defeat Ebola’

- Members of Parliament

DECEMBER 3, 2014

Parliament has on 2nd December approved an Additional Financing Agreement of US$98 million between the World Bank and the Government of Sierra Leone for the Ebola Emergency Response.

“This entire additional funding has been given as a grant because the World Bank understands the magnitude of the outbreak and the shear amount of resources the government needs not only to defeat it, but also to cope with its devastating economic impact,” said Francis Ato- Brown, World Bank Country Manager in Sierra Leone.

The additional financing will provide needed resources to address compensation to health workers, support contact tracing, provision of essential drugs, strengthening of the health sector, human resource scale-up and essential health services, said a release from the World Bank office in Freetown.

It will also support the provision of food and basic supplies to quarantined populations and EVD affected households, provision of essential public services and pre-investment assessment for acceleration of Ebola prevention, treatment and preparedness.

Members of Parliament agreed that this additional funding will significantly boost government’s effort to defeat the outbreak “but drastic action is also required to address the problem of lack of public adherence to the regulations under the state of emergency”.

“Public persistence with some socio-cultural practices, negative attitudes and indiscipline remain a challenge,” said Hon. Bernadette Lahai, the opposition leader in parliament.

Hon. Lahai lamented that in spite all the finances and resources pouring in, the number of new infections is still increasing in the country. The Minority Leader went on to state that, in her constituency (13) in the Kenema District, a family has been arrested for washing their dead after the surveillance team had urged them not to. “They will be tried and if convicted, face the full force of the law,” she concluded.

For Hon. Leonard Fofana, the acting Majority Leader of Parliament, “we are not reducing the number of new cases simply because of the recklessness of some members of the public”.

The number of new cases has been spiking in recent months. In November alone, there were 2,040 new cases.

However, the United National Mission for the Ebola Emergency Response said three days ago that a lot of progress has been made in the last two months.

In his statement at a press briefing in Freetown, the UNMEER boss Anthony Banbury highlighted the major successes of the UN 60 days target especially for Sierra Leone. Banbury explained that, “90 safe and dignified burial teams were needed nationally. To date, there are 93 burial teams in place and have conducted 4,134 safe and dignified burials”.

The UNMEER boss went on to say that, “as of 1st October, there were four functional Ebola Treatment Centres (ETCs) and now by 1st December, there are 10 ETCs with a 655-bed capacity currently operating with an additional 920 treatment unit beds planned to open by mid December, 2015”.

The World Bank says it is poised to continue to support the government and people of Sierra Leone until the Ebola virus is vanquished. To demonstrate that commitment, the president of the World Bank Group, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, flies in today to express his solidarity with Sierra Leone during this trying time and to better understand, at first hand, the challenges and gaps in the fight against Ebola.

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