The World Bank Group and the Government of Liberian (GOL) have signed a US$115 million additional financing grant in support of the Ebola Emergency Response Project (EERP) for Liberia. The money will go directly to the health sector in support of Liberia’s model of scaling up community care centers (CCCs), social mobilization and active case search.
It will also support rapid response teams and laboratories, medical waste management, training and health workers’ hazard pay and the deployment of qualified foreign health workers to help Liberian medical staff fight Ebola and restore essential health services across the country.
The signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) in Monrovia on Monday, November 24, with the World Bank Country Manager, Ms. Inguna Dobraja, declaring that these grant resources will support the Liberian government to achieve zero cases of Ebola.
“Zero cases must be our goal,” said the World Bank Country Manager who signed the agreement on behalf of the Bank. “Although we have seen decline in the number of cases in Liberia, the epidemic is far from over. We need to be fast and dynamic in order to achieve zero Ebola virus disease (EVD); be flexible and adapt our response to changing conditions on the ground.”
Ms. Inguna warned “Ebola is not a disease where you can leave a few cases and say we have done enough. No! We cannot slow down the response.”
The US$115 million grant agreement penned on Monday is in addition to a US$52 million grant provided to the government by the World Bank few weeks ago bringing the Bank’s total grant support directly to the Liberian government to fight the Ebola epidemic to US$167 million.
Ms. Inguna assured the Liberian government of the Bank’s continuing commitment to support the fight against the Ebola epidemic and in the recovery efforts once the outbreak is totally defeated.
She also reminded the government to make sure that Liberians do not die from malaria, typhoid and other curable sicknesses despite the intense focus on the Ebola virus outbreak.
“The direct impact of the crisis has wiped out hard-earned development gains and many Liberians have lost their livelihoods,” said Ms. Inguna. “We need to support the most vulnerable, especially the Ebola-affected families, get children back to school and farmers back to their fields.”
In response, Liberia’s FDP Minister Amara M. Konneh thanked the World Bank Group, particularly President Jim Yong Kim, for the direct support to the government in the fight against the EVD.
Minister Konneh declared the US$115 million grant by the World Bank is the second trench of support the Bank is giving to the Liberian government, the first being the US$52 million grant given to the government few weeks ago.
“We are more grateful to the World Bank Group, which happens to be the largest donor to the government thus far in the fight against the EVD,” said Minister Konneh. “We [government] will use portion of the money to reopen our clinics and hospitals across the country both public and private. We will also use some of this grant to support our communities because they took charge of themselves and are still doing so in absence of the government and other health institutions,” he added.
According to Minister Konneh, the US$115 million will contribute to the control of the Ebola virus disease in the country including psychosocial supports, amongst others.
He recalled how the Liberian government had difficulties in handling the EVD outbreak few months ago, but noted that today is a new era where the government has identified the causes of Ebola and how to tackle it.
The Liberian Finance Minister underscored the importance of the latest World Bank support as it will help restore basic health services across the country. “We are not going be satisfied until all of our health services are reopened even though the Health Ministry is already reopening hospitals and clinics gradually,” he added.
Mr. Konneh warned the public that the EVD outbreak is not over yet despite the decline in the spread of the virus. He praised the Bank’s Country Manager for her strong support in acquiring the fresh financing to fight the EVD.
Earlier, Deputy Health Minister for Administration, Mr. Matthew T. K. Flomo, who witnessed the signing ceremony thanked the World Bank for the huge direct support to the Ministry of Health for Ebola response. Minister Flomo also thanked Minister Konneh for lobbying for the grant resources and said the money will help strengthen and improve the sector.
On November 18, 2014, the World Bank Group's Board of Executive Directors approved a US$285 million grant to finance Ebola-containment efforts underway in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Bank announced that the money would be used to help communities in the three countries cope with the socioeconomic impact of the crisis and rebuild and strengthen essential health services. The grant is part of the nearly US$1 billion previously announced by the World Bank Group for the countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis.
The grant provides additional financing to the Ebola Emergency Response Project (EERP) approved by the WBG's Board on September 16, 2014, including US$72 million for Guinea, US$115 million for Liberia and US$98 million for Sierra Leone, the three countries most-affected by Ebola.
The announcement by the Bank brings the total financing approved so far from the World Bank Group's International Development Association (IDA) Crisis Response Window (CRW) for the Ebola response to US$390 million. The CRW is designed to help low-income IDA countries recover from severe disasters and crises.