Rwanda's efforts to curb and contain the novel Coronavirus this week received a $14.25M boost from the World Bank under the new Rwanda COVID -19 Emergency Response Project.
The project is designed to help the government prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness.
Funds will also go into the supporting national preparedness and response plan by financing critical interventions, such as prompt diagnosis of suspected COVID-19 cases; contact tracing to minimize risk of transmission; risk assessments to identify hot spot areas; and screening travellers at Ports of Entry.
The emergency project will also bolster clinical care capacity and establish isolation capacity at a selected number of national and district hospitals responsible for triaging and treating COVID-19 cases.
Yasser El Gammal, World Bank Country Manager said that the bank is confident of Rwanda's ability to curve the pandemic and get back on track buoyed by the government actions and resilience of Rwandans.
"As we commemorate 26 years since the genocide and pay our respect to those who lost their lives, we note that the country is now hard hit by the COVID-19 global pandemic which runs the risk of reversing some of Rwanda's hard won socio-economic and health achievements. I am confident that with the high-level leadership, the resilience of the Rwandans swift action taken by the government, and support of the World Bank and other development partners, Rwanda can bend the curve on this pandemic and get back on track", he said.
The Rwanda COVID -19 Emergency Response Project also focuses on harnessing digital solutions and data analytical tools that will improve the management and containment of the COVID-19 response.
Building on the country's strong track record on digital solutions, several innovations will be explored, including digital maps that allow to visualise 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.
Miriam Schneidman, Lead Health Specialist and Task Team Leader at the World Bank said that it is such swift responses that ensure lives are saved and ailment is curbed.
"Swift detection of COVID-19 and a rapid emergency response can save lives, reduce health care costs, and prevent the staggering socio-economic costs associated with disease outbreaks. As we have learned from past outbreaks, rapid containment, prompt and efficient diagnosis and treatment of patients; and community involvement are critical", she said.
The Rwanda COVID-19 Emergency Project is part of the World Bank Group $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 International Finance Corporation is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association are making an initial $6 billion available for health-response.
The World Bank Group committed to deploying up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.