President of the African Development Group (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka, and the World Health Organisation (WHO), Regional Director for Africa, Luis Sambo have signed on Tuesday a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) cementing $60 million granT to help fight the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa.
According to the Bank, the fundss, which will be implemented by the WHO, will be used to help recruit and train health workers, purchase equipment and medicine, and ensure that the necessary logistics are in place at the local level to provide emergency health services to Ebola patients.
The Group disclosed that as of Monday, 2,615 cases of Ebola were recorded since March, resulting in 1,427 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
Commenting on the virus outbreak, Kaberuka said “The Ebola crisis has shown the weakness of our health systems. When we have vanquished Ebola, there will be other challenges, and we must be better prepared. This concerns us all: Ebola has no passport; it respects no borders”.
“It is a very dynamic epidemic. This is why on top of this work with the WHO the AfDB will invest an additional $150 million to assist its regional member governments through budget support operations in order to pay health workers, equip health centres, and create jobs,” He added.
He stated that in the long term “we want to tackle the root causes of the epidemic and strengthen health systems in Africa, because it threatens the economic situation of countries”’
Kaberuka noted according to recent estimates, these countries may lose 1.5 percent of GDP due to this epidemic.
Also his comment, Sambo said the ongoing Ebola Virus Disease outbreak is a bitter reminder to all African Governments and partners on the need to strengthen health infrastructure capacities in order to cope with disasters and epidemics.
He noted that the MoU will cover the immediate response needs as well as help to strengthen the health systems capacity.
Since April, the Bank has already disbursed $3 million to support regional Ebola response efforts. It has also made four emergency assistance grants of $ 1 million each to the Governments of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. As the largest donor so far, its total support package is worth some $210 million.