World Bank approves financial aid for COVID-19 response in Malawi

Image source nchenga FlickrThe World Bank has approved US$7mn to support Malawi’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, under the Malawi COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness project

The international body has offered US$30mn from the Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Financing with a provision for Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO), to strengthen the country’s response to the pandemic.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness project has been designed to support Malawi’s National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 by strengthening the disease surveillance systems, and increasing the capacity for regular testing. The plan aims to equip treatment centres, quarantine units and train the health workers and rapid-response teams.

The Cat-DDO funds on the other hand, will provide initial support for the economic recovery initiatives, in the case of revenue shortfalls. Several development partners, such as the Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Financing, have come forward to work with Cat-DDO and support a wide range of economic policy initiatives, to smoothen out the macro-economic shocks, that COVID-19 threatens to pose.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging both Malawi's economy and its fragile health system. This funding will not only support the government’s economic policy response by taking care of the revenue shortfalls; but it will also help in strengthening the national health system which is too fragile to offer continual and routine care in cases of emergency,” said Greg Toulmin, World Bank country manager for Malawi.

The World Bank Group is taking prompt action to help developing countries strengthen their response to the pandemic, by increasing disease surveillance and improving the public health care systems, as well as helping the private sector to retain jobs. It has deployed up to US$160bn as financial aid for the coming 15 months, to help protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.

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