The World Bank approved $14.25 million International Development Association (IDA) credit in immediate funding to support Rwanda’s response to the global COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic under a new operation, the Rwanda COVID-19 Emergency Response project.
The project is designed to help the government prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the coronavirus and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness.
It will support the COVID-19 National Preparedness and Response Plan by financing critical interventions, such as prompt diagnosis of suspected coronavirus cases; contact tracing to minimize risk of transmission; risk assessments to identify hot spot areas; and screening travelers at ports of entry.
The emergency project will also bolster clinical care capacity and establish isolation capacity at a selected number of national and district hospitals responsible for triaging and treating COVID-19 cases.
“As we commemorate 26 years since the genocide and pay our respect to those who lost their lives, we note that the country is now hard hit by the COVID-19 global pandemic which runs the risk of reversing some of Rwanda’s hard won socio-economic and health achievements,“ says Yasser El Gammal, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda.
The Rwanda COVID-19 Emergency Response project also focuses on harnessing digital solutions and data analytical tools that will improve the management and containment of the COVID-19 response. Building on the country’s strong track record on digital solutions, several innovations will be explored, including digital maps that allow to visualize the spread of the disease in real time; mobile apps for sending health messages; and telemedicine capability to allow for suspected cases to be assessed without the need for physical movements by patients.
“Swift detection of COVID-19 and a rapid emergency response can save lives, reduce health care costs, and prevent the staggering socio-economic costs associated with disease outbreaks. As we have learned from past outbreaks, rapid containment, prompt and efficient diagnosis and treatment of patients; and community involvement are critical,” noted Miriam Schneidman, Lead Health Specialist and Task Team Leader at the World Bank.
The Rwanda COVID-19 Emergency project is part of the World Bank Group $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.
With World Bank