By Caribbean News Global
WASHINGTON, April 21, 2020 — The World Bank activated on April 15 US$6.6 million to provide immediate funding for Dominica’s emergency response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, focusing on enhancing health system capacity and strengthening food security; and activated US$4.5 million on April 17 to provide immediate funding for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, aimed at strengthening the capacity of the health system.
“The World Bank has mobilized rapid support for Dominica’s emergency response activities to limit the impacts of COVID-19, protect the people of Dominica, and lay the groundwork for recovery,”said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean.
From the total amount activated, US$5.1 million will be used to bolster the capacity of Dominica’s public health system to manage COVID-19. Funds will be available to purchase drugs, medical supplies and equipment, and laboratory supplies to boost testing capacity and for minor retrofitting of isolation units.
Another US$1.5 million will be used to support agriculture and strengthen national food security during the pandemic. The intervention is targeted to reach an estimated 3,200 farmers to ensure that the local food supply chains are better able to meet the needs of the island.
The funds were mobilized under two projects using the Contingency Emergency Response Components (CERCs).
CERCs allow funds to be reallocated from existing projects and used for emergency response activities. This allows countries to access resources rapidly to meet current priorities. US$3 million was reallocated from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Regional Health Project and US$3.6 million from the Emergency Agricultural Livelihoods and Climate Resilience Project.
“The World Bank is working closely with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to help the health system prepare for the impacts of COVID-19 and to protect people, especially the most vulnerable,” said Tahseen Sayed, the World Bank’s Country Director for the Caribbean.
The financing will be used to improve the ability to isolate patients, increase testing capacity, and purchase critical supplies, including personal protective equipment, mobile isolation units, testing equipment, reagents, gloves, and masks. It will also support preparedness and response capacity for other public health emergencies by increasing access to medical equipment and expanding the capacity of hospital units.
These funds were mobilized under the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Regional Health Project using the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC). CERCs allow funds to be reallocated from the project to be used for emergency response activities.