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Liberia Not Prepared To Respond To Coronavirus – Says World Bank ‘Report’


Liberia despite recent efforts to combat the virus, remains unprepared, as the report suggest.

A purported World Bank report has revealed some lapses within the preparation and response mechanisms to coronavirus in Liberia.

Local media outlet in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, FrontPage Africa, claimed to have chanced upon a project document apparently prepared by the World Bank on Liberia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to FrontPage Africa, the document has concluded that despite efforts to contain the coronavirus, serious weaknesses remain, and Liberia is not prepared to respond to COVID-19.

“Respiratory diseases, like SARs, MERS, and COVID-19, are not part of Liberia’s active surveillance.”

“Therefore, early identification in communities and health facilities, compliance with infection prevention and control measures, contact tracing, and good hygiene practices remain major challenges,” the report noted.

*Read The Full Story as published By FrontPage Africa*

The report dated March 26, 2020 when Liberia had reported as of March 17, 2020, three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montserrado County, the capital city, where more than 45 percent of the population live. “Health authorities continue to trace all primary and secondary contacts of index cases, and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) has activated its preparedness plan. Considering the contextual and health system challenges in Liberia, in the absence of a rapid, effective, and sustained response, a COVID-19 outbreak would have a devastating impact on the health system, health outcomes, and the broader Liberian economy.”

Today, Liberia has recorded a total of 120 cases, 11 deaths with 634 contacts being traced.

*Report Preceded US$7.5M Grant*

The project document was a prelude to the recent World Bank approval of a $7.5 million International Development Association (IDA) financing to help Liberia respond to the threat posed by the Coronavirus outbreak.

The financing which consists of a $3.75 million grant and $3.75 million concessional IDA credit, will strengthen the Government of Liberia’s immediate capacity to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and in the longer-term, strengthen its response to disease outbreaks and emergencies.

This complements ongoing support provided through the Second Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE II) project which has made available up to $9.5 million for the response.

This COVID-19 Emergency Response project for Liberia aims to mitigate and contain the transmission of COVID-19, ensure adequate management of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and strengthen the laboratory network systems for COVID-19 detection and other infectious diseases. In addition, the project will provide required support to healthcare workers and families affected by COVID-19 and strengthen coordination among partners for the COVID-19 response.

“This support builds on Liberia’s experience in dealing with the 2014 Ebola outbreak which was further strengthened by the REDISSE II project that focuses on emergency preparedness and response. We look forward to working with other development partners in supporting the Government’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said World Bank Liberia Country Manager Khwima Nthara.

Liberia – Among Weakest Healthcare System in World

The World Bank Group is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery. This immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

The International Finance Corporation is providing $8 billion in financing to this effort to help private companies affected by the pandemic and to preserve jobs. The International Bank of Reconstruction and Development and IDA are making an initial $6 billion available for the health response. In order to provide broader support to meet country needs, 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.

The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since its inception, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.

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