World Bank Approves $18 Million Additional Financing to Strengthen Disease Surveillance and Epidemic Preparedness in West Africa

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The World Bank Group this week approved a total of $18 million in two additional financings from the International Development Association (IDA)*to reinforce health systems and support effective disease surveillance in West Africa. These additional financings will support the implementation of the ongoing Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Program (REDISSE) respectively in Benin ($6 million), Senegal ($7 million) and by the West Africa Health Organization, WAHO ($5 million).

REDISSE is a regional multi-sectoral program currently involving sixteen (16) countries in West and Central Africa – Angola, Benin, Chad, Central Africa Republic, Congo Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Togo. It aims to strengthen national and regional capacities to address disease threats at the human, animal, and environmental interface, which is the source of most known epidemic-prone and novel pathogens. The REDISSE program was approved in four phases in 201620172018, and 2019 respectively with a total financing from the World Bank of US$657 million. The new additional financings bring this total to $688.13 million.

The REDISSE program was established prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and has proved to be instrumental to the initial emergency COVID-19 response activities, repurposing its funding to allow participating countries to undertake surveillance and contact tracing activities; conduct laboratory testing and diagnosis; procure essential drugs, equipment, material, and commodities; and organize trainings for healthcare staff.  

“The existence of the REDISSE program in the countries prior to COVID-19 allowed the use of an already established platform, nascent systems, and financing to quickly kick-start COVID-19 emergency response, thanks to the flexibilities allowed by the program’s design”, says Ms. Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Regional Integration Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa“These additional financings will help Benin, Senegal, and WAHO to complete the remaining originally planned activities to enhance surveillance and information systems, strengthen the laboratory systems, and build capacities to foster inter-country collaboration and coordination of disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness in West Africa”.  

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In addition to the sixteen (16) beneficiary countries, two regional entities – the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) – also participate in the program to ensure a high-level policy and regulatory harmonization with a cross-sectoral approach aimed at improving cooperation and coordination of disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness across West and Central Africa.  

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The World Bank Group.