The World Bank has approved a US$50 million credit for the Myanmar COVID-19 Emergency Response Project, as part of global emergency support operations through a dedicated fast-track COVID-19 facility.
“This fast-track financing will help Myanmar fill a critical gap in its contingency plan to urgently increase hospital preparedness and surge capacity in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, protect health workers, and minimize the severity of illness and associated deaths”, said Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director for Myanmar, Cambodia and Lao PDR.
The project primarily focuses on upscaling of Intensive Care Units (ICU) at selected hospitals, along with capacity building of health staff and officials, and community engagement activities throughout the country. Eight central level hospitals and 43 Region and State level hospitals, across all Regions and States, will be covered, with implementation rolled out in a phased manner, starting with the most at-risk areas, such as densely populated areas and areas with frequent travel and migration.
This emergency response project complements the World Bank-financed Myanmar Essential Health Services Access Project (EHSAP), which since 2015 has been supporting over 12,000 primary health care facilities across the country. In the fight against COVID-19, funds under EHSAP are also being mobilized to assist capacity building and operational costs to intensify surveillance and testing activities in all states and regions, establish a functioning information and reporting system for all suspected cases, facilitate engagement with basic health staff – including Ethnic Health Organizations – for community surveillance, disseminate guidelines to health staff and community volunteers, and, develop public Information, Education and Communication materials for risk communication.