WASHINGTON, D.C. CMC – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$20 million grant for the Haiti COVID-19 Response Project.
The Washington-based financial institution on Thursday said that this project aims to respond to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic through testing and improved treatment in Haiti.
“The rapidly evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic requires urgent action to prevent outbreak and save lives in Haiti,” said Anabela Abreu, World Bank Country Director for Haiti.
“The World Bank is working in partnership with the Haitian Government and donor community to respond effectively to the threat posed by COVID-19 by preparing the country’s medical system to diagnose and treat this infection,” she added.
The World Bank said that Haiti faces significant risks from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the first cases have been officially confirmed, it said the risk of local transmission has increased, stating that a state of emergency was declared on March 20.
“Vigorous response measures will be essential to reduce the spread of the virus,” the bank said. “Otherwise, there is a high potential for the number of COVID-19 cases in Haiti to rise significantly.”
The World Bank said the new Haiti COVID-19 response project aims to limit the transmission of COVID-19 in Haiti through detection, infection control in health facilities and access to best care possible for people who become ill.
This includes enhancing testing, minimizing spread through contact tracing of confirmed cases, and providing needed laboratory and protective equipment for healthcare staff to ensure quality of care as pressure on the medical system increases, the bank said.
It said the project will also support communications activities to help community members understand what they can do to prevent spread and counter misinformation. The project supports the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan developed by the Ministry of Health.
The World Bank said it is rolling out a US$14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries, such as those in the Caribbean, and shorten the time to recovery.
The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, the bank said.
As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group said it will deploy up to US$160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses and bolster economic recovery.