The World Bank's first set of aid projects, amounting to $1.9 billion, will assist 25 countries developing countries to curb the spread of COVID-19, and new operations are moving forward in over 40 nations using the fast-track process.
As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.
World Bank President David Malpass stressed that the poorest and most vulnerable countries will likely be hit the hardest, so the bank focused on country-level and regional solutions to address the ongoing crisis. The first instalment announced on Friday comes to $1.9 billion dollars-besides India, the other main beneficiary is Pakistan, though much lower at $200 million.
"In parallel, interventions to strengthen the health system will be rolled out to improve the country's capacity to respond to the covid-19 epidemic and be better prepared to respond to emerging disease outbreaks, including transmission between humans and animals", the global body added.
Through this project, the Government of Sri Lanka will be better equipped to respond to emergencies and strengthen existing institutions such as the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, which is now Sri Lanka's only available medical facility outfitted for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Under this emergency package the World Bank will support the Government of Ghana to help prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through the Ghana Emergency Preparedness and Response Project (EPRP). "It's crucial that we all work together with other partners to help minimize the negative impact of the pandemic on health systems, social services and economic activities".
The World Bank is also helping countries access critically needed medical supplies by reaching out to suppliers on behalf of the governments. Malpass said he hoped it would receive approval when the World Bank's policy panel, the Development Committee, holds a virtual meeting on April 17.
This is the biggest-ever single fund announcement in the health sector for India, which has historically been one of the World Bank's biggest beneficiaries of financial support since the worldwide organisation was established on the eve of India's independence. It is providing financial support for all the developing countries.