Coronavirus: Nigeria draws from $90 million World Bank health fund — Official

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Nigeria has drawn $8 million from a World Bank support fund of $90 million aimed at strengthening its response to disease outbreaks, an official has said.

The fund is domiciled under the bank’s Regional Disease Surveillance System Enhancement Project (REDISSE).

The bank, in a statement released in Abuja on Tuesday, said it had set aside the fund to assist the nation to respond to its health crisis.

The REDISSE is a world bank project initiated to cover all countries in the ECOWAS sub-region as a consequence of the 2014‒2015 West Africa Ebola crisis.

It aims at strengthening national and regional cross-sectoral capacity for collaborative disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness in West Africa.

The bank also explained that it has been asked to provide a multi-pronged package of support over the next six months to strengthen the country’s preparedness for the immediate health crisis.

Nigeria’s finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, on Monday, had said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has access to the REDISSE facility which is worth $90 million, of which the agency had drawn $8 million from “and there is already a request to draw the remaining $82 million.”

More support

The statement also indicated that the bank would also provide the federal government with budget support for a pro-poor stimulus package and the long term recovery.

Nigeria has had to adjust downward its 2020 budget in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the global economy including plummeting oil prices.

“Efforts to protect livelihoods and support local economic activities over the next 18 to 24 months will be critical in mitigating the economic and human impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Together with partners, the bank is discussing with the states and relevant federal agencies how best to protect livelihoods of poor and vulnerable families and support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to enable recovery.

“Through the REDISSE project, about 10.6 million dollars has already been committed to support the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in strengthening states’ emergency operation centre, building, renovating and providing equipment for treatment centres across eight states.

“As well as bringing in essential medical supplies and drugs, testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment for frontline health workers,” the bank said.

The Nigerian governors on Monday had said they were in touch with the World Bank for funds for states to mitigate the economic and social costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, there were 238 confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, 35 have been discharged with five deaths recorded.

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