–Project to strengthen country’s capacity to detect and monitor disease, improve healthcare system
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank on Friday approved a $200 million package to help Pakistan take effective and timely action to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening its national healthcare system and mitigating socioeconomic disruptions.
This support will also draw an extra $38 million from eight existing projects for urgently needed medical equipment and supplies, said a press statement issued here.
While focusing on the COVID-19 preparedness and emergency response in the health sector, the Pandemic Response Effectiveness Project (PREP) will also help the poor and vulnerable cope with the immediate impact of the pandemic through social protection measures, food rations, and remote learning education.
“The World Bank is ramping up its support to Pakistan and its people to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the country,” said Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.
“PREP will help strengthen the country’s capacity to detect and monitor the disease. In addition, it will also make available resources to support cash transfer through existing arrangements to the poor and vulnerable. We will continue to partner with federal and provincial governments to ensure effective implementation during these testing times.”
The PREP will help establish quarantine facilities in collaboration with public and private hospitals and also supply equipment to hospitals, including ventilators and Personal Protection Equipment for doctors and paramedics.
The project will benefit infected people, at-risk populations, medical and emergency personnel, service providers in medical and testing facilities (both public and private), and national and provincial departments of health.
The project is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional credit window for developing countries, in the amount of $200 million, of which $100 million are provided through the World Bank Group’s COVID-19 Fast-Track Facility.
The extra $38 million financing is repurposed from existing projects and will support federal and provincial governments in purchasing necessary equipment and supplies. Procurement is underway and some equipment and supplies have arrived and being put to service.
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. The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
The IFC is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. IBRD and IDA are making an initial US$6 billion available for the health-response. 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.