By James Emejo
The World Bank Board of Directors Friday approved a $114.28 million financing to help the country prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with a specific focus on state level responses.
The intervention includes $100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.
World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, said: “Nigeria has ramped up its efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, but more needs to done at the state level, which are at the frontline of the response. The project will provide the states with much needed direct technical and fiscal support to strengthen their position in combating the pandemic.”
Through the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (CoPREP), the federal government will provide grants to 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as immediate support to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission and limit the spread of coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies.
According to a statement from the Bretton Woods Institution, grants to states will be conditional on states adopting COVID-19 response strategies which are in line with the Federal Government guidelines and strategies.
CoPREP will enhance the institutional and operational capacity for disease detection through provision of technical expertise, coordination support, detection, diagnosis and case management efforts in all states and the FCT as per the WHO guidelines in the Strategic Response Plan.
The support will also help the government mobilise surge response capacity through trained and well-equipped frontline healthcare workers and strengthen the public health care network for future health emergencies.
In addition, the project will finance federal procurements of medical equipment, laboratory tests, and medicines to be distributed to the states based on their needs.
The programme complements the Second Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Project (REDISSE II) which is already providing short-term emergency support to implement national and state Incident Action Plans. So far, all 36 states have incident action plans cleared by the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and funds have been disbursed to 23 states.
CoPREP will finance further support to all states and Abuja Federal Capital Territory through the NCDC to implement their COVID-19 Incident Action Plans.
Essentially, the funding will support the operationalisation of 37 Emergency Operations Centers; training of 30,000 healthcare workers in infection prevention and control; support for emergency prioritized water sanitation and hygiene activities; strengthening of risk assessment and community and event-based surveillance; provision of on-time data to inform the response and mitigation activities and additional support to laboratories for early detection and confirmation.
Others include equipping and renovating isolation and treatment centers including community support centers; and improving in patient transfer systems through financing of ambulances and training as needed.