The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, on Thursday, approved the decision to grant Maldives USD 7.3 million to fund a COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project to assist prevention, detection and the overall response to the ongoing pandemic.
Additionally, the World Bank has enabled Maldives to utilise the USD 10 million contingency financing signed in 2019 under Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Financing with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CAT DDO).
The fast tracked USD 7.3 million aid package will aid the government to provide optimum care to patients, procure personal protective equipment and medical supplies, boost capacity of laboratories across the country to diagnose COVID-19 and train medical staff to manage virus cases as well as support hospitals to maintain essential services, strengthen intensive care and cope with a potential increases in demand.
The project will also support more efficient risk communication, community engagement and efforts to change public behavior, focusing on the capital city of Male’, which is more vulnerable to rapid transmission due to high population density.
World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough stated that "The World Bank’s new emergency financing will help the Maldives government alleviate the impact of COVID-19 and help it strengthen health services and acquire medical resources necessary to protect and treat all Maldivians".
"The additional $10 million will help to mitigate the risks and vulnerabilities associated with the health crisis".
The project is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional credit window for developing countries, through the World Bank Group’s Fast Track COVID-19 Facility. It will be implemented by the Ministry of Health with support from existing World Bank Group projects in Maldives.
Presently, Maldives records 19 confirmed and six active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 13 recoveries. While there are two confirmed cases of Maldivians, no local to local transmissions have been recorded.
The World Health Organization has classified the spread of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus has infected over 1,015,059 people and claimed over 53,100 lives around the world. However, out of those infected, more than 212,00 people have recovered.