Ebola: World Bank comes to West Africa’s aid

by S’ola Filani

world bank president
The World Bank Group has pledged the sum of $200m to help contain the spread of Ebola, which now has a death toll of 887 in West Africa – Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

According to a statement signed by the President of the bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim,  the bank would also step up social safety net assistance for affected communities and families and help to build up public health systems in West Africa to strengthen the region’s disease control capacity more generally.

The World Bank boss in the statement said, “I am very worried that many more lives are at risk unless we can stop this Ebola epidemic in its tracks.

“I have been monitoring its deadly impact around the clock and am deeply saddened at how it has ravaged health workers, families and communities, disrupted normal life, and has led to a breakdown of already weak health systems in the three countries.

“The international community needs to act fast to contain and stop this Ebola outbreak. I believe this new World Bank emergency funding will provide critically needed support for the response to stop the further transmission of Ebola within Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, which would prevent new infections in neighbouring at-risk countries.”

Explaining how the new emergency fund would be used, he said that the new financial pledge would pay for urgently needed medical supplies, salaries for medical staff, and other vital materials to stabilize the health system, while also helping communities cope with financial hardship caused by the epidemic.

The new  package, he added, would also help to build up the region’s disease surveillance and laboratory networks to guard against future epidemic outbreaks.

“We will build up safety net protection measures for families and communities in the affected countries in light of the further hardship we expect Ebola will create for people who were already poor and vulnerable to begin with.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, had on Monday said one of the doctors that treated the Liberian-born American, Patrick Sawyer, who died of   the Ebola disease, had contracted the virus.

Chukwu said the discovery is now the second case of Ebola virus disease in Nigeria noting that about eight other persons who came into contact with Sawyer, and who had developed the Ebola symptoms, had been quarantined while 70 others were under surveillance.

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