The World Bank activated US$4.5 million on April 17 to provide immediate funding for St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds are aimed at strengthening the capacity of the health system.
“The World Bank is working closely with St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help the health system prepare for the impacts of COVID-19 and to protect people, especially the most vulnerable,” said Tahseen Sayed, the World Bank’s Country Director for the Caribbean.
The financing will be used to improve the ability to isolate patients, increase testing capacity, and purchase critical supplies, including personal protective equipment, mobile isolation units, testing equipment, reagents, gloves, and masks.
It will also support preparedness and response capacity for other public health emergencies by increasing access to medical equipment and expanding the capacity of hospitals.
These funds were mobilised under the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Regional Health Project using the Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC).
CERCs allow funds to be reallocated from the project to be used for emergency response activities.
The World Bank Group is rolling out a US$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. The IFC is providing US$8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs.
IBRD and IDA are making an initial US$6 billion available for the health-response.
As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group will deploy up to US$160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.