The World Bank (WB) approved $14.25 million in immediate funding Thursday to support Rwanda’s response to the outbreak of COVID-19 infection in the country.
Rwanda’s government has welcomed the immediate help from the WB, The poor African country urgently needs additional funding to boost national efforts on fighting against coronavirus.
According to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana, the funds are being provided under a new operation, the Rwanda COVID-19 Emergency Response project.
“The financial support from the World Bank is a boost to national efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. The government is working around the clock to flatten the COVID-19 curve and ensure that life gets back to normal,” reads the finance ministry’s statement.
Yasser El-Gammal, the WB Country Manager for Rwanda, reiterated that the East African nation has been hard hit by the novel infection, which runs the risk of reversing some of its hard-won socio-economic and health achievements. The initial two-week COVID-19 lockdown was extended to April 19.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund approved the disbursement of $109.4 million, which it said is to meet Rwanda’s urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the coronavirus crisis.
For Rwanda, the timely financial support from the international bank will definitely help the local efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the COVID-19 while strengthening national systems for public health preparedness.
Rwanda launches COVID-19 Emergency Response project
It will also support financing critical interventions such as the prompt diagnosis of suspected coronavirus cases, contact tracing to minimize the risk of transmission, risk assessments to identify hot spot areas and the screening of travellers at ports of entry.
The Rwanda COVID-19 Emergency Response project focuses on harnessing digital solutions and data analytical tools that will improve the management of the COVID-19 response, according to the World Bank.
The project hopes to explore several innovations including digital maps that allow visualizing 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, it said.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund approved the disbursement of $109.4 million, which it said is to meet Rwanda’s urgent balance of payment needs stemming from the coronavirus outbreak.
As the Health Ministry said, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rwanda had reached 113, with seven cured.