The World Bank today approved EURO 15 million financing to Albania to help the country prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness. The financing covers a range of interventions to strengthen public health services and to safeguard lives.
Responding to the Government’s request, the project will provide immediate support to help Albania contain local transmission of COVID-19. To help detect and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the project will support widespread population testing; provide supplies to strengthen surveillance and contact tracing; invest in healthcare and public laboratory equipment, and personal protective equipment; ; increase the numbers of intensive care beds; and strengthen capacity to assess and modify requirements for physical distancing. The project will also train medical staff in COVID-19 care and infection prevention. As Albania has entered the complex phase of reopening its economy, the project will also help to intensify communications with the public.
While focused on the health sector’s emergency response to the immediate impacts of COVID-19 (including further waves of the pandemic), the project will provide support to improve the national system of public health in the medium and longer term. The investments in the health system’s capacity to identify, test, and treat cases of COVID-19 are expected to strengthen the system’s capacity for routine service delivery and for future health crises.
“The World Bank stands with the people of Albania during this unprecedented crisis. I would like to recognize the extraordinary dedication of health professionals in Albania to save people’s lives and strongly encourage citizens to strictly follow social distancing and other restrictive measures aimed at minimizing the impact of the pandemic”, said Maryam Salim, the World Bank Country Manager for Albania. “Given the uncertainty about the evolution of the pandemic, the design of the project is flexible to accommodate needs that are likely to change as knowledge about COVID-19 epidemiology evolves.”
The beneficiaries of the project will be people already infected with COVID-19, at-risk citizens, particularly the elderly, and people with chronic conditions, medical and emergency personnel, service providers in medical and testing facilities, as well as public health agencies engaged in the response to the crisis.
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. We are supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. We will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans.