The World Bank is launching a new fund that will complement its current financing and support for COVID-19 measures. Global experts gauge the potential impacts of the pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, and how to leverage data to minimize the economic cost of containment efforts. Meanwhile, grassroots women’s groups in India are organizing to combat the disease.
Given the urgency for stronger global health security and the need to help developing countries get better prepared for disease outbreaks, the World Bank Group is planning to establish a new Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Multi-Donor Fund (HEPRF). This new fund will complement and be in addition to the up to $160 billion of financing the World Bank Group will provide over the next 15 months to support COVID-19 measures that will help countries respond to immediate health consequences of the pandemic and bolster economic recovery.
Global health experts fear the virus’ potential impact on Sub-Saharan Africa, where many countries have weaker health systems. World Bank Global Director for Health, Nutrition, and Population, Dr. Muhammad Pate, offers his perspective on Africa’s capacity for dealing with the pandemic, what the World Bank is doing to support countries, and his advice to leaders.
We have an unprecedented opportunity to estimate the distributional patterns and trends of COVID-19 cases through mass screening or random surveys and sentinel site surveillance. These tools can provide a thorough analysis of cases broken down by key epidemiologic characteristics of the infected, asymptomatic and recovered by location; and can help determine how to approach containment in specific geographies.
Estimates for the region suggest that between 110 million and 720 million people could become infected with COVID-19. Additional health financing needs to prepare, respond, and treat COVID-19 are estimated to be between 1.5 and 3 percent of the GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa covering a period of 250 days.