World Bank Fast-Tracks $100 Million COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Support for Afghanistan

New Delhi: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $100.4 million grant for the Afghanistan COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project to help Afghanistan take effective action to respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen its public health preparedness.

This new fast track package will cover all 34 Afghan provinces and reinforce essential health care services to slow down the spread of COVID-19 across Afghanistan and deliver optimum care in the case of a surge in demand for treatment. The financing will support infected people, at-risk populations, medical and emergency personnel as well as service providers, medical and testing facilities, and national health agencies.

The project is financed by a grant from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, in the amount of $100.4 million, of which $19.4 million is provided from the World Bank’s COVID-19 Fast-Track Facility. It will be implemented by the Ministry of Public Health supported by UN agencies and service providers already working under the Sehatmandi project.

“The World Bank stands firm with the Afghan government and people to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the country,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Afghanistan. “This emergency support package will help Afghanistan’s health system mitigate the impact of an outbreak and strengthen health services. The World Bank, together with the Government of Afghanistan and other partners, will work tirelessly to implement this project and is committed to helping Afghanistan lessen the impact posed by COVID-19 in the most effective way.”

The project will also help address significant negative externalities expected in the event of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak, including comprehensive health awareness and behavior change campaigns.