Kenya receives Ksh 5B to address COVID-19 Pandemic

Written By: Claire Wanja
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The World Bank defines "extreme poverty" as living on less than $1.90 (£1.55) per person per day.

The Kenya COVID-19 Emergency Response Project will receive $50 million (approx. Ksh 5b) in immediate funding from the World Bank Group to support the country’s response to the global Coronavirus pandemic. 

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The project is expected to provide emergency funding for medical diagnostic services, surveillance and response, capacity building, quarantine, isolation and treatment centers, medical waste disposal, risk communications and community engagement as well as for strengthening of the country’s capacity to provide safe blood services.

“This new fast track facility will assist Kenya in its efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness,” said Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, World Bank Country Director for Kenya.

“COVID-19 threatens lives and livelihoods, and a rapid response is needed for food security, nutrition, and schooling.” He added.

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The project  will be implemented in all 47 counties with primary beneficiaries being the infected persons, at-risk populations, medical and emergency personnel, medical and testing facilities, and national health agencies.

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Blood is core to all clinical aspects of health systems.$10 million of this funding willgo towards strengthening the capacity of the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service to provide safe blood and blood products,said Jane Chuma, Senior Health Economist and Task Team Leader.

“This is important especially this time when supply will drop because the would-be blood donors are less likely to go out to donate.” She added.

This funding is the first in a series of support the World Bank is providing to Kenya in response to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. In addition, $10 million was triggered under the Contingency Emergency Response Component of the Transforming Health Systems for Universal Care Project to fund the National COVID-19 Contingency Plan.

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In a statement, World Bank Group says it is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery. The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

The International Finance Corporation is also providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association are also  making an initial $6 billion available for the health-response.

World Bank Group says it will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery as countries need broader support.

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* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.

IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries.

Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.

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