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WORLD BANK GROUP TO THE RESCUE!

WORLD BANK GROUP TO THE RESCUE!
April 03
12:48 2020

Rifa Deka     

 

The World Bank Group is extending its first helping hand towards developing nations by lending them financial aid worth $14 billion. The Board of Executive Directors of the bank approved a fast track $1 billion aid for India’s COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project. The World Bank’s first set of aid projects, amounting to $1.9 billion, will assist 25 countries, of which the largest chunk of the emergency financial assistance will be provided to India.

The fast track package is said to be rolled out to strengthen the COVID-19 response and shorten the time taken to recover from the pandemic globally. Apart from this monetary aid, International Financial Corporation (IFC) is also providing $8 billion in finance to help private companies that have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic so that private sector companies don’t get adversely and preserve jobs for people.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) are initially making $8 billion available for immediate health response which will include financing, policy advice and technical assistance to cope with economic and health impact of the outbreak. The World Bank group also announced that up to $160 billion will be deployed over the next 15 months to protect those vulnerable to the disease and to revitalize the economy.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project will help the country prevent, detect and respond to the outbreak by strengthening its health facilities and public health preparedness and this support is said to be the largest in terms of healthcare that the country has ever received from the World Bank.

The project is financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and $350 million out of the total aid will be managed by the National Health Mission (NHM), National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Indian Council of Medical research (ICMR) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

The aid will address the needs of people who already have been infected, those who are at a risk of getting infected, healthcare personnel, emergency and other service providers and will further benefit those working on testing facilities. The project will not only help the government of India curb human-to-human transmission of the disease, but will also intensify the health system which is currently rolled out to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure preparedness for any other such future outbreaks. The plight of healthcare workers will also be solved with this project as the government will now be able to procure more testing kits, which is the need of the hour, and set up new isolation wards with all essential equipment right from simple medicines to ventilators.

Human-to-animal contact is another major issue of concern in India as approximately 75% of infectious diseases are said to begin with this including fatal diseases like HIV/AIDS, Ebola and SARS. The project will help India to further tighten its grip on disease surveillance within the country and revamp all hospitals dealing with infectious diseases by building high containment network Bio safety level 3 laboratories.

The World Bank lends around US$ 27.1 million to India making it the largest country assisted by IBRD. In 2018, the Group had commenced a new partnership with India,  which would emphasize on an efficient and sustainable growth path and foster competitiveness to create new job opportunities and investments in human capital. It has helped the country focus on strengthening its public-sector institutions in order to create strong governance and has played a massive role in India’s transition from a low-income to a middle-income country.

Efforts of Indians are being lauded across the world, thus helping our Indian government accumulate funds to combat the big problem at hand. India has successfully helped curb the menace of diseases such as Small Pox and Polio successfully in the past and the world believes that India can do so once again and turn the situation around. Through this particular project itself, India will be able to expand the capacity of its research, laboratories and other health care facilities profoundly and we can continue fighting this global pandemic with little to no effect on the livelihoods of millions Indians.

 

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