The World Bank has approved $15.2 million to support Uganda’s efforts to prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health emergency preparedness under a new operation - the Uganda COVID19 Response and Emergency Preparedness Project.
The project is financed by an IDA credit of $12.5 million and a grant of $2.7 million from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.
It aims to reduce the financing gap under the National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan by boosting COVID prevention, detection, case management and the overall health system readiness.
This includes improving disease surveillance at points of entry and rapid laboratory diagnosis and reporting; case management with investments in the provision of equipment, training in the provision of intensive care and psychosocial support.
The primary beneficiaries will be the infected persons, at-risk populations, host communities and refugees, medical and emergency personnel, medical and testing facilities, and selected national health agencies.
“Uganda has built significant capacity in managing different pandemics over the years but the COVID-19 poses unique challenges.
“These funds will provide the necessary resources to boost the current effort on COVID-19 but also strengthen the country’s overall health security system so that it can effectively respond to future pandemics,” said Tony Thompson, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda.
This funding complements other support the World Bank has provided to Uganda in response to COVID-19. On March 31, $15 million was triggered under the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC) of the Uganda Reproductive Maternal and Child Health Services Improvement Project to support prevention and early detection, procure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers, hand sanitizers, testing kits, transport media and consumables, thermal scanners, screening equipment. Other activities include risk communication and community engagement to raise awareness about the risk factors for COVID-19. CERC funds will be replenished in additional financing currently being prepared.
In addition to the CERC activation, the closing date for the East Africa Public Health Laboratory Networking Project was extended to March 30, 2021, to enable completion of isolation facilities at the Entebbe General Hospital and Mulago National Referral Hospital.
The Bank recently also approved a $300 million budget support operation that will extend subsidies and tax exemption to supplies and equipment used in the treatment of COVID-19 and provide immediate relief to individual and businesses that have been most affected by the pandemic.
“This emergency operation will help Uganda contain the COVID-19 outbreak and help bolster support in areas that are critically needed, such as in disease surveillance, testing and case management.
“The support provided will help scale up ongoing efforts, and ensure that Uganda’s response remains swift and targeted, with the goal of minimizing the overall health impact,” said Julia Mensah, Operations Officer and Task Team Leader.