World Bank to Give Nearly US$400M to Fight Ebola

first_imgFollowing alarming evidence of the spread of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the World Bank Group has announced that it will nearly double its financing to US$400 million to help the worst-affected countries address the emergency and build stronger health systems for the years ahead.This represents US$170 million in new funding. With Thursday, September 25th announcement, the Bank will put US$230 million toward the emergency response and US$170 million for medium- and long-term projects.According to a World Bank statement issued, the new resources – which the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors will consider in the coming weeks – will be targeted at rapidly increasing the health care workforce and purchasing needed supplies in order to bring care and treatment to all parts of the affected countries. The funding also is aimed at building a stronger health care system because it will aim to train cadres of health workers to bolster care at a community level throughout the affected region.“The global community is now responding with the urgency and the scale needed to begin to turn back this unprecedented Ebola crisis,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, who was speaking today at a special session on the Ebola crisis at the United Nations. “The real challenge now is to bring care and treatment to the most remote areas as well as the cities and then to build a stronger health care system. This funding will help the countries start a massive scale up of training of community health workers and bring needed supplies and equipment.”The World Bank Group previously announced that it was mobilizing US$230 million for the three countries hardest hit by the crisis—Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone—including a US$117 million emergency response.This support – coordinated closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations, the United States, and other international and country partners – has assisted countries in treating the sick, cope with the economic impact, and improve their public health systems.The additional planned support will make US$113 million that had been earmarked in the earlier package for longer-term help immediately available for the emergency response. The new package will have US$170 million set aside in medium- to longer-term assistance for the countries’ health systems.More people have died in the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa than in all previous Ebola outbreaks combined since the virus was first discovered in 1976.  A World Bank analysis, released last week, found that if the virus continues to surge in the three worst-affected countries, its economic impact could deal a potentially catastrophic blow to these already fragile states.However, the analysis also found that economic costs can be limited if swift national and international responses succeed in containing the epidemic and mitigating fear resulting from people’s concerns about contagion, which is fueling the economic impact.“This is a humanitarian catastrophe, first and foremost,” Kim said. “But the economic ramifications are very broad and could be long lasting. Our assessment shows a much more severe economic impact on affected countries than was previously estimated. We have been greatly encouraged by the major increase in assistance given by the international community, but now all of us have to deliver on the ground to match the scale of the crisis. ”The bulk of the emergency financing provided to date—us$105 million in grants out of the US$117 million package—was approved by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors on September 16, 2014, and is new money provided in grants from our IDA Crisis Response Window. The other US$12 million in the emergency financing was reallocated at the end of August 2014 from existing health projects in Liberia and Sierra Leone (US$6 million per country) to make some funds immediately available. As of Thursday morning the Bank had already transferred 80 percent of the US$117 million package to the three Governments and UN agencies with the remainder of funds to be disbursed by the end of the week.These funds are being used to pay for essential supplies and drugs, personal protective equipment and infection prevention control materials, health workers training, hazard pay and death benefits to Ebola health workers and volunteers, contact tracing, vehicles, data management equipment and door-to-door public health education outreach. The Bank has been supporting country responses in line with the WHO Roadmap.“We can—we must—all move more swiftly to contain the spread of Ebola and help these countries and their people. Too many lives have been lost already, and the fate of thousands of others depends upon a response that can contain and then stop this epidemic,” said Kim.A World Bank Group analysis of the Ebola epidemic released last week warned that if the virus continues to surge in the three worst-affected countries – Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – its economic impact could grow eight-fold. However, the analysis found that economic costs can be limited if swift national and international responses succeed in containing the epidemic and mitigating “aversion behavior” – a fear factor resulting from peoples’ concerns about contagion, which is fueling the economic impact.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

US Calls for Free Elections in Liberia

first_img– Advertisement – The United States Congress this week passed a resolution calling for free, fair and peaceful elections in Liberia come the October polls. The resolution was introduced by Senator Christopher Andrew Coons of Delaware and Senator Cory Anthony Booker from New Jersey.According to a dispatch from Washington, the resolution states that the United States and Liberia share broad and deep bilateral ties over the course of nearly 200 years of relation.Acknowledging the beginning of the most revered friendly ties between the two countries, Congress said the United States established diplomatic relations with Liberia in 1864 and called for the holding of peaceful elections in Liberia as many organizations, including those within the country and nations across the world, are looking forward to a new age, particularly so the democratic governance transition of an incumbent president to one elected in an election.The resolution made reference to the hundreds of thousands of Liberians who died in the civil wars (from 1989 to 2003) and said today the United States is home to an estimated 80,000 people of Liberian ancestry.The two interconnected Liberian civil wars took place from 1989 to 1996, before the 1997 special election that brought into power jailed former President Charles Ghankay Taylor, and his subsequent exile in 2003.The resolution said the people and Government of the United States have a deep and abiding interest in Liberia’s democratic stability and post-conflict development and recounted the United States’ assistance to Liberia since the end of its second civil war in 2003; US support to post-conflict recovery; and a subsequent sustained transition toward broad-based economic growth, improved access to high-quality education, health system strengthening, and enhanced socioeconomic welfare for Liberia.It stated also that the “professionalization of the country’s military and civilian security forces, efforts to foster the capacities, accountability, and transparency of government institutions, and the consolidation of participatory democracy” are additional positive contributions the US has made to the recovery of Liberia.About the reintroduction of democratic rule in the country, the resolution noted that in 2005, and again in 2011, the citizens of Liberia elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as their President, making her the first woman to be elected president of an African nation. President Sirleaf was awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 5, 2007, for defending and advancing the democratic rights of her fellow citizens in the face of house arrest, foreign exile, death threats, and imprisonment, and the Noble Peace Prize on October 7, 2011, for contributing to the nonviolent struggle for the security and rights of women.The resolution noted that the Government of Liberia has contributed to efforts to foster peace, stability, democratization, as well as regional economic growth, development, and integration in West Africa, as demonstrated by President Sirleaf’s role in mediating a peaceful transfer of power in The Gambia in January 2017 and her broader leadership as the 2016– 2017 Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States.It has been 73 years now since a peaceful transfer of state power from one elected president to another took place, and that was when President Edwin J. Barclay turned over the gavel of authority to President-elect William V. S. Tubman.As Liberia is holding presidential and legislative elections on October 10, which will be the country’s first democratic transfer of power since 1944, Congress resolved that the United States upholds its commitment to maintain and to foster the enduring relationship between the people and the Governments of the United States and Liberia.The dispatch commended President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for efforts to consolidate post-conflict peace-building and democratic gains as well as promote social and economic development and foster ties with the international community, and for her work to advance international gender equality.The US Congress urged the Government and people of Liberia and all of the country’s political parties to ensure that there are free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections in October 2017 and beyond. “We admonish that all parties adhere to the objectives set out in the Ganta and Farmington River Declarations and promote and ensure peaceful conduct of candidates, their supporters, and other citizens of the country generally.”The US Congress appealed to all parties and independent candidates to “ensure that there are robust civic education and electoral campaign outreach to often politically marginalized groups, including women, urban youth, and rural communities; and raise awareness of and express zero tolerance for violence against women, gender discrimination, or social bias of any nature in the electoral process.”The US Congress “supports efforts by the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development to assist in election preparations and calls on Liberian citizens to fully participate in the general elections and to pursue legal avenues to resolve any disputes over the results.” It also encourages Liberian civil society organizations to intensify civic and voter education, particularly among women, youth, and rural communities, and in local languages; condemns any external interference in the elections, “including any communication or action by convicted war criminal and former armed faction leader Charles Taylor to influence the elections from prison.”It states that the US Congress encourages President Donald Trump to appoint an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs to bolster diplomatic engagement with the Government of Liberia, electoral stakeholders, and civil society and robustly engage with other sub-Saharan African countries and governments.The US Congress also called the United States Government and international partners, especially election-focused non-governmental organizations, to continue to support successful elections and Liberia’s anticipated historic democratic post-electoral transition of executive power; and welcomes the visit of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the United States Congress for her final address as President of Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) President Sirleaf shared a platform with Senator Chris Coons (her immediate right), who introduced the resolution. Others seated: Congressman Ed Royce and Tami Hultman of AllAfrica news service. (Photo: Gabriel I. H. Williams)last_img read more

Rep Webber honors regional youth soccer champions

first_img18Oct Rep. Webber honors regional youth soccer champions Categories: Webber News State Rep. Michael Webber today welcomed the Nationals Union 02 Girls Black soccer team to the Capitol. The team, coached by Jeremy Harkins, won the U.S. Youth Soccer Midwest Regional Championship this summer.Rep. Webber and Gov. Rick Snyder honored them with a tribute from the Michigan House of Representatives.“I’m very excited to host this remarkable group of young athletes today,” Rep. Webber said. “The Nationals Union 02 Black team has had an outstanding season under the leadership of Coach Harkins. I’m certain this team will continue to work hard and achieve great things.”All National Union 02 Black soccer team players reside in the southeast region of Michigan, including the Greater Rochester Area. The U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship series is a prestigious national youth soccer tournament, providing approximately 185,000 players on over 10,000 teams the opportunity to showcase their athletic skills.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Michael Webber today welcomed the Nationals Union 02 Girls Black soccer team with Gov. Snyder. They were joined by head coach Jeremy Harkins in the Michigan House of Representatives.last_img read more