May 19, 2024

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COVID-19 CURTAILMENT: World Bank approves $114.28m for Nigeria

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World Bank headquarters in Washington. AP Photo

As the spirited fight against the dreaded COVID-19 continues unabated, the World Bank has further approved the sum of $114.28 million to help Nigeria prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 with specific focus on state level responses.

According to a statement from the bank on Friday, the amount includes $100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.

It stated that the Federal Government shall provide grants to thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) through the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (CoPREP).

It added that the project would serve as immediate support to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission and limit the spread of coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies.

Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria said: “Nigeria has ramped up its efforts to contain the COVID -19 outbreak, but more still needs to be done at the state level, which are at the frontline of the response.

“The project will provide the states with much needed direct technical and fiscal support to strengthen their position in combating the pandemic.”

Chaudhuri added that the project would finance federal government procurement of medical equipment, laboratory tests and medicines to be distributed to the states based on their needs.

He also said that the project is to complement the Second Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Project (REDISSE II) which was already providing short-term emergency support to implement national and state Incident Action Plans.

Furthermore, he said that all 36 states had incident action plans cleared by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and funds had been disbursed to 23 states.

According to the World Bank, CoPREP would finance further support to all states and the FCT through the NCDC to implement their COVID-19 Incident Action Plans.

The statement said, “Specifically, this includes: the operationalization of 37 Emergency Operations Centers; training of 30,000 healthcare workers in infection prevention and control; support for emergency prioritized water sanitation and hygiene activities; and strengthening of risk assessment and community and event-based surveillance.”

Others are: “provision of on-time data to inform the response and mitigation activities; additional support to laboratories for early detection and confirmation; equipping and renovating isolation and treatment centers including community support centers; and improving in patient transfer systems through financing of ambulances and training as needed.”

It further stated that grants to states would be conditional on states adopting COVID-19 response strategies in line with the Federal Government guidelines and strategies.

“CoPREP will enhance the institutional and operational capacity for disease detection through provision of technical expertise, coordination support, detection, diagnosis and case management efforts in all states and the FCT as per the WHO guidelines in the Strategic Response Plan.

“It will also help the government mobilize surge response capacity through trained and well-equipped frontline healthcare workers and strengthen the public health care network for future health emergencies.”

However, the statement does not give categorical directive on any special attention to states with international airports which provide entry point for people from all parts of the international community into the country.

But Lagos state and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have remarkably recorded increase in the number of infection incidents in the country and no doubt will require special attention in mitigating the spread of the disease.   

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