Parliament has on 2nd December 2014, approved an Additional Financing Agreement of USD 98 million between the World Bank and the Government of Sierra Leone for the Ebola Emergency Response.
“This entire additional funding has been given as a grant because the World Bank understands the magnitude of the outbreak and the shear amount of resources the government needs not only to defeat it, but also to cope with its devastating economic impact”, said Francis Ato- Brown, World Bank Country Manager in Sierra Leone”.
WORLD BANK PRESIDENT JIM YOUNG KIM
The additional financing will provide needed resources to address compensation to health workers, support contact tracing, provision of essential drugs, strengthening of the health sector, human resource scale – up and essential health services.
It will also support the provision of food and basic supplies to quarantined populations and EVD affected households, provision of essential public services and pre- investment assessment for acceleration of Ebola prevention, treatment and preparedness.
Members of Parliament agree that this additional funding will significantly boost government’s effort to defeat the outbreak “but drastic action is also required to address the problem of lack of public adherence to the regulations under the state of emergency”.
“Public persistence with some socio – cultural practices, negative attitudes and indiscipline remain a challenge” said Bernadette Lahai, the opposition Leader in parliament.
Lahia laments that in spite all the finances and resources pouring in, the number of new infections is still increasing in the country. The Minority Leader went to state that, in her constituency (13) in the Kenema District, a family has been arrested for washing their dead after the surveillance team had urged them not to. “They will be tried and if convicted, face the full force of the law” she concluded. For Leonard Fofana, the Acting Majority Leader of Parliament, we are not reducing the number of new cases “simply because of the recklessness of some members of the public”.
The number of new cases has been spiking in recent months. In November alone, there were 2,040 new cases. However, The United National Mission for the Ebola Emergency Response said two days ago that a lot of progress has been made in the last two months. In his statement at a press briefing in Freetown, the UNMEER boss Anthony Banbury highlighted the major successes of the UN 60 day’s target especially for Sierra Leone. Banbury explained that, “90 safe and dignified burial teams were needed nationally. To date, there are 93 burial teams in place and have conducted 4,134 safe and dignified burials”.
The UNMEER boss went on to say that, “as of 1st October, there were four functional Ebola Treatment Centres (ETC) and now by 1st December, there are ten ETCs with a 655 bed capacity currently operating with an additional 920 treatment unit beds planned to open by mid December, 2015”.
The World Bank is poised to continue to support the government and people of Sierra Leone until this atrocious virus is vanquished To demonstrate that commitment, the president of the World bank Group, Dr. Jim Yong Kim flies in today to express his solidarity with Sierra Leone during this trying time and to better understand, at first hand, the challenges and gaps in the fight against Ebola
Facts about the World Bank support to Sierra Leone’s Ebola fight
* As of end October, with World Bank funding, WFP has delivered 2,798 metric tons of food out of a total of over 4,588 agreed under an MOU with the government. Over 40,000 households out of estimated beneficiaries of 120,000 have been reached with these food supplies.
* WFP has also delivered 20 ambulances, 10 hearses, 14 all-terrain Toyota vehicles out of a total 74 agreed under the same MOU
* UNICEF, under similar arrangements, will bring in a total of 33,266 pieces of essential medicines and a total of 269,380 PPE supplies, including 143,500 coveralls, 3,000 boots, 28,000 face protection masks, 680 of 25kg boxes of chlorine, 5,000 bio hazard bags, 1,200 body bags, 12,500 aprons, 75,000 gloves and 500 sprayers back. UNICEF has already brought in 148 metric tons of these essential medical supplies and has a total of USD 750,800 allocation for social mobilization activities
* As of end October, UNFPA has engaged 1617 contact tracers and provided 38 motor bikes. UNFPA has also donated desktops, motorcycles and other equipment to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) to be used solely for the purpose of Ebola Surveillance and Strengthening of Data centres in the districts. The equipment includes:
* The equipment includes:
|Equipment and Description|
|1||38 Bajaj Boxer BM 150 Motorbikes|
|2||13 Dell Desktop 4th Generation Intel Core i5 Processor: Windows 8.1; 8GN Memory & 500GB Hard Drive|
|3||13 500 GB Portable Hard Drive|
|4||13 LaserJet Pro 200 Color mfp m276nw|
|5||APC Back-up 650 VA Batteries|
|6||Antivirus (One year license)|
* The World Bank is also now supporting the National Ebola Emergency Response Center for administrative and operational costs including salaries, office equipment and furniture and M&E. As of November and with World Bank funding, NERC has commenced hazard pay for 3,439 health care workers in labs, holding and treatment centers, burial and screening teams.
* The World Bank Group has also funded the establishment of a 200 bed facility at the Police Training School (PTS1), Hastings. This includes 150 holding and 50 treatment capacity. The Bank is also in the process of reimbursing the Government for the 125 treatment facility (PTS2), the largest in the country manned exclusively by Sierra Leonean health care workers.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent The New Rising Sun’s editorial policy.