The World Bank Group has released 82 million dollars for immediate support in strengthening the public health response; through the Regional Disease Surveillance System Enhancement Project (REDISSE).
In a statement released in Abuja on Tuesday, April 7; the World Bank explained the provision of a multi-pronged package of support over the next six months to strengthen the country’s preparedness for the immediate health crisis.
The statement indicated that the World Bank would also provide the Federal Government with budget support for a pro-poor stimulus package and the long term recovery.
“Efforts to protect livelihoods and support local economic activities over the next 18 to 24 months will be critical; in mitigating the economic and human impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Together with partners, the bank is discussing with the states and relevant federal agencies how best to protect livelihoods of poor and vulnerable families and support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to enable recovery.
“Through the REDISSE project; about 10.6 million dollars has already been committed to support the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in strengthening states’ emergency operation centre, building, renovating and providing equipment for treatment centres across eight states.
“As well as bringing in essential medical supplies and drugs, testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment for frontline health workers,” the bank said.
Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned as “racist” the comments by two French doctors who suggested a vaccine for the coronavirus could be tested in Africa.
“Africa can’t and won’t be a testing ground for any vaccine,” said Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The doctors’ remarks during a TV debate sparked outrage; and they were accused of treating Africans like “human guinea pigs”.
One of them later issued an apology.
When asked about the doctors’ suggestion during the WHO’s coronavirus briefing; Dr Tedros became visibly angry, calling it a hangover from the “colonial mentality”.
“It was a disgrace; appalling, to hear during the 21st Century; to hear from scientists, that kind of remark. We condemn this in the strongest terms possible, and we assure you that this will not happen,” he said.
As the number of confirmed cases in Africa continues to rise; some governments are imposing stricter measures to try to slow the spread of the virus.