Positioned at the intersection of several global value chains, regional cooperation and health initiatives in Central Asia hold significant potential to protect the region from future disease outbreaks.
Axel van Trotsenburg, the World Bank’s Managing Director of Operations, writes that the World Bank recognizes that the massive scale of the COVID-19 pandemic demands a truly exceptional response, working with over 100 low- and middle-income countries to bolster their health systems and broad-scale pandemic response as well as lay the groundwork for recovery. There are four priorities for the broad, fast action that the World Bank has underway: saving lives threatened by the pandemic; protecting the poor and vulnerable; helping save jobs and businesses; and working to build a more resilient recovery.
Located at the crossroads of global value chains, with countries that rely heavily on labor migration, Central Asia is particularly vulnerable. The One Health initiative brings together people, knowledge, expertise, and information to improve the ties between humans, animals, and environmental health. The One Health approach can help strengthen systems to support recovery from infectious disease outbreaks. The knock-on effects include improved global public health, sustained economic growth, and poverty alleviation.
Two weeks after Haiti recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19, an emergency health operation was prepared and approved for US$20 million. Haiti was among the first countries to receive financing through the COVID-19 Fast Track Facility, which is aimed at infection detection, containment, and treatment. The operation has already delivered critical support and essential personal protective equipment for medical workers. It complements and builds on the strong foundation of ongoing health projects related to maternal and child health and strengthening the primary care system.
The World Bank 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. It aims to boost COVID prevention, detection, case management and the overall health system readiness. The primary beneficiaries will be infected persons, at-risk populations, hosting communities and refugees, medical and emergency personnel, medical and testing facilities, and selected national health agencies.