The World Bank has given Zambia 25 million U.S. dollars to help the country respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, a statement released by the bank’s office in Zambia on Friday said.
The statement said the funds were approved by the bank’s board on Oct. 20 and will be channelled through the Zambia COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project.
Out of the amount of 20 million dollars comes from the International Development Association (IDA) while 5 million dollars is a grant funding from the bank’s global financing facility.
According to the statement, the financing will support the government to respond, prevent, and detect threats posed by the pandemic and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness.
It will also support disease surveillance and strengthen surveillance at the entry points.
“While Zambia has seen a reduction in new cases of COVID-19 in the last two months, it is important that prevention, detection and response measures are scaled up to prevent further spread of the disease,” World Bank Country Manager Sahr Kpundeh said in the statement.
Rapid response is crucial in addressing COVID-19 and to reduce its negative impact on health systems, social services and economic activities, he added.
Rosemary Sunkutu, Senior Nutrition and Population Specialist and Task Team Leader of the project said the project will help strengthen screening at entry points.
“This component of the project is especially important given that Zambia is a landlocked country surrounded by eight countries, which predisposes the country to risks of importation diseases from neighbouring countries and beyond,” she said.
The funding is part of a broad package of support by the World Bank Group to help Zambia manage and respond to the pandemic.