WASHINGTON, USA – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a US$20 million loan to help reduce the morbidity and mortality caused by the COVID-19 and to mitigate its impacts. The project will strengthen response leadership at the country level, improve case detection and monitoring, support initiatives to break the illness’s transmission chain, and improve service delivery capacity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged health service delivery in The Bahamas, exacerbating health personnel shortages exposing limitations in infrastructure such as the scarcity of medical equipment, thus negatively affecting the provision of essential care services. Therefore, there is a need for additional health personnel, technical and physical resources. Besides, the country is preparing the National COVID-19 vaccination strategic plan, which also requires additional support.
This project has four components to address the challenges. The first component will strengthen response leadership at the country level by enhancing its decision-making capabilities, surveillance, assessment, public health management, and multisectoral coordination. The second component will finance the expansion of the health system’s capacity for screening, case detection, contact tracing, reporting, and monitoring of COVID-19 cases. The third component will finance access to vaccines, which entails supporting the National COVID-19 vaccination strategic plan and purchasing the doses. It will also fund the design and implementation of a public communications campaign, the update of care protocols, and the strengthening of epidemiological surveillance at entry points.
Finally, the fourth component will support bolstering the COVID-19 case management capacity and the continuity of essential care services during the emergency.
The primary project outcome will be a strengthened emergency operations committee and preparedness and response plan. It also will reinforce the capacity’s laboratories to diagnose COVID-19 and support the COVID-19 vaccine plan deployment to reach the target to vaccinate the prioritized groups. Moreover, it will consolidate the entry points’ capacity to perform epidemiological surveillance and health facilities’ capability to triage patients, isolate cases, and manage confirmed cases according to national protocols.
The US$20 million loan will be executed during a two-year period, with an amortization period of 25 years and an interest rate based on LIBOR.