World Bank approves US$7.5 million to fund Lesotho’s Covid-19 fight
THE World Bank Group has approved a US$7.5 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) “to support Lesotho’s efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the global Covid-19 pandemic under a new project, the Lesotho Covid-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response project”.
The project will support Lesotho’s efforts to mitigate the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and provide immediate support to containment and treatment strategies. It will support the Lesotho National Integrated Response Plan to the Covid-19 pandemic by financing critical interventions such as epidemiological investigations for contract tracing, screening travelers at ports of entry, expanding infection prevention and control at health facilities.
According to a statement from the World Bank, the project will also fund surge response capacity, equipping frontline health workers with personal protective equipment, as well as goods and equipment to strengthen Lesotho’s efforts to test for Covid-19.
“Working together with other development partners, the World Bank Group is committed to moving quickly to assist the Government in its Covid-19 response to save lives and protect the livelihoods of the people of Lesotho, particularly the most vulnerable in society,” said World Bank country director for Lesotho, Botswana, eSwatini, Namibia and South Africa, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly.
The emergency project will help establish and enhance isolation and treatment capacity for patients, and provision of psychosocial support, and support the implementation of personal hygiene promotion, handwashing and sanitation practices, as well as production and dissemination of risk communication materials to engage communities.
“We are increasing disease surveillance, improving public health interventions, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. Over the next 15 months, we will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, including $50 billion of new IDA resources in grants or highly concessional terms,” the bank said.
Established in 1960, the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) helps the world’s poorest countries by providing 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. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.