World Bank increases its COVID-19 assistance to Solomon Islands

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With Solomon Islands’ COVID-19 situation having significantly worsened over the past several months – with over 14,000 confirmed cases and 141 reported deaths – the World Bank has approved an additional US$8 million in emergency COVID-19 support.

The additional $8 million adds to an existing US$5 million in support approved in February 2021; bringing the total World Bank support to US$13 million. These funds will support Solomon Islands’ expanded health response to the pandemic; with support for prevention, preparedness, and emergency response work across the country, as well as efforts to strengthen health systems and facilities and access to vaccines.

“We are proud to be committing more resources to Solomon Islands’ COVID-19 response, while expanding our support to ensure disruption to health services are minimized. Importantly, this assistance will support greater access to life-saving vaccines, while boosting awareness – and countering misinformation – of vaccines,” said Annette Leith, World Bank Resident Representative for Solomon Islands.

The assistance will bolster personal protective equipment supplies for front line health workers, as well as support for case detection and contact tracing, the mobilization of health workers around the country, and will help cover the costs of response efforts, including gender-based violence support and communications activities.

The additional funding will also include assistance for routine health services to minimize pandemic-related impacts on existing health services; ensuring that Solomon Islands’ progress towards achieving universal healthcare coverage is not derailed.

“This World Bank support will provide important assistance to Government efforts to tackle the impacts of COVID-19 on our population and the health system,” said Harry Kuma, Minister of Finance and Treasury. “We are pleased the support includes more funding to upgrade quarantine facilities, improvements to the national medical storage facility and waste management, and further support for training and infection control among Ministry of Health and Medical Services staff.”

To support the deployment of vaccines across Solomon Islands’ more than 300 inhabited islands, the project includes US$3 million from a Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Multi-Donor Trust Fund to support costs including for transport and community engagement to ensure accurate vaccine information is shared widely with the community, by church leaders, community groups and through the media.

SIURCE: WORLD BANK/PACNEWS