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Focus Friday: Top COVID-19 (coronavirus) news this week

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The World Bank’s emergency operations to fight COVID-19 reached a milestone this week, with support to 100 developing countries.  Meanwhile, as investment in a vaccine for COVID-19 ramps up worldwide, developing countries are at risk of being left behind. African leaders are emphasizing the need for community engagement and regional collaboration to fight the pandemic. Looking forward, global health experts are calling to invest in geospatial information systems to create more resilience in the health sector. 

World Bank Group: 100 Countries Get Support in Response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) | Press Release

The World Bank Group announced it is now financing emergency operations to fight COVID-19 (coronavirus) in 100 developing countries – home to 70% of the world’s population. This assistance, the largest and fastest crisis response in the Bank’s history, will strengthen health systems, protect and support the poorest households, and bolster livelihoods and jobs for those hit hardest.

COVID-19 (coronavirus): Ensuring equal access to vaccines through advanced market commitments | Blog

Incentivizing investment in vaccines for developing countries poses a persistent challenge for vaccine markets. From research and development phases to scaled-up manufacturing and distribution, industry investment has fallen short – mainly due to a lack of predictable resources in developing countries that would ensure a return on investment. As investment in a vaccine for COVID-19 (coronavirus) ramps up, it is critical to ensure that the market will not leave developing countries behind.

Interview with Professor Muyembe, Ebola and COVID-19 response coordinator in the DRC | Feature Story

Since the start of the 10th Ebola epidemic in the country’s eastern region almost two years ago, the DRC has faced the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history. In this fight, the Congolese government has understood the importance of investing in more robust health systems to deal with the epidemic. Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the eminent Congolese virologist who discovered the Ebola virus in 1976 and who is leading the national response to Ebola and COVID-19 in DR, answers our questions.

Pandemics know no borders: In Africa, regional collaboration is key to fighting COVID-19 | Blog

Recent experiences with Ebola are fresh in peoples’ minds across West and Central Africa, as are those with TB and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. As a result, African countries understand the need for regional coordination in overcoming public health challenges. The World Bank Group has responded swiftly to each of these health emergencies to counter immediate threats while also strengthening countries’ capacity to be proactive in detecting and responding to outbreaks.

The role of geospatial information in confronting COVID-19 – Learning from Korea | Blog

A virus-resilient economy requires knowing exactly where infected people are, living conditions, and access to medical services – all of which hinges on geospatial information.   In Asia, managing epidemiological outbreaks is not new. The SARS and MERS outbreaks triggered health infrastructure and protocol improvements for identifying sick individuals and tracing who they encountered. Their investments in geospatial information and systems are critical to COVID-19 responses.


Priyanka Ripley

External Affairs Consultant with the Health, Nutrition and Population communications team

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