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World Bank Pledges 100 million Dollars for Ebola   
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-The World Bank Group on Thursday pledged an additional 100 million dollars funding to speed up deployment of foreign health workers to the three worst affected Ebola countries in West Africa.

The pledge increases the World Bank Group’s funding for the Ebola fight over the last three months in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to more than 500 dollars million.

A statement issued by World Bank Group and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday, said additional financing would help set up a coordination hub in close cooperation with the three countries; the World Health Organisation (WHO); United Nations’ main Ebola coordination body in Ghana; and other agencies to recruit, train and deploy qualified foreign health workers.

The hub would be designed and operated in coordination with the Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola and the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), with technical support from the WHO and in close collaboration with other partners.

It would also resolve key issues blocking the recruitment of significantly more foreign health workers, such as pay and benefits, recruitment and training, safety, transportation, housing, provision of urgent medical care, and/or medical evacuations for any infected staff.

The funding would strengthen the overall capacity of the three countries toward reaching the 70/70/60 targets established by UNMEER and WHO on October 1, 2014 to isolate and treat 70 per cent of suspected Ebola cases in West Africa and safely bury 70 per cent of the dead within the next 60 days.

The new funding would come from World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) - Crisis Response Window, which is designed to help low-income IDA countries respond to exceptionally severe crises in a timely, transparent and predictable way.

Financing from the Crisis Response Window complements UN and other emergency relief efforts by providing immediate crisis response, supporting country efforts to provide care and essential support for affected populations, while helping countries return to a path of long-term development.

The World Bank Group previously announced that it was mobilising 400 million dollars for the three countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis, of which 117 million dollars has already been disbursed.

This support coordinated closely with the United Nations and other international and country partners would assist the affected countries in treating the sick, providing essential food and water to Ebola-affected households, coping with the economic and social impact of the crisis, and starting to improve their public health systems to build up resilience and preparedness for potential future outbreaks.

The World Bank Group also recently released a report saying if the virus continues to surge in the three worst-affected countries and spreads to neighbouring countries; the two-year regional financial impact could reach 32.6 billion dollars by the end of 2015.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said: “The world’s response to the Ebola crisis has increased significantly in recent weeks, but we still have a huge gap in getting enough trained health workers to the areas with the highest infection rates.”

“We must urgently find ways to break any barriers to the deployment of more health workers. It is our hope that this 100 million dollars can help be a catalyst for a rapid surge of health workers to the communities in dire need.”

The World Bank Group President also said that the hub could jumpstart the development of a more permanent global health security reserve corps from different countries for rapid and targeted health worker deployment in response to future health crises.

“Even as we focus intensely on the Ebola emergency response, we must also invest in public health infrastructure, institutions and systems to prepare for the next epidemic, which could spread much more quickly, kill even more people and potentially devastate the global economy,” he added.

Current estimates by the United Nations indicate that about 5,000 international medical, training and support personnel are needed in the three countries over the coming months to respond to the Ebola outbreak, including 700-1,000 foreign health workers to treat patients in the Ebola treatment centres.
Source: GNA

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