African Development Bank uses funding to strengthen health systems to deal with possible pandemics like COVID-19
Since 2020, the Covid-19 Multi Nation Disaster Response Program has enhanced Gambia’s health system. Important health infrastructure has been built to handle any coronavirus infections and communicable disease epidemics in this West African country.
The funding of 14.1million USD was split into two $7.05 million loans from the Growth Fund of Africa and the Fragile States Facility respectively.
The Gambian government built eight Covid-19 treatment centres and a National Infectious Diseases Center using the funding. The Chamber of Trade and Commerce provided extra treatment tents. These tents were part of a Bank-funded project to develop SME incubators and promote trade fairs.
Gambia had 2,000 incidents per week in August 2020. The public well-being interventions instituted by the Ministry of Wellbeing and drastic containment measures (supported by the Financial institution’s programmatic intervention) led to a drastic reduction in weekly instances to virtually zero every day.
Each week, less than 300 incidents are reported. One case was noted at the midterm review of the Bank’s disaster response program in June 2021.
Social programs focused on protecting the incomes of weak groups and allowed the government to launch its most widespread safety net and food distribution program ever, targeting poor rural and peri-urban families.
Over 200,000 homes received oil, rice, and sugar. This system guaranteed that 60% of food contracts went to local, women-led SMEs. A bank-funded project trained local SMEs to participate in public procurement.
This mechanism helped tourism, which was impacted hard by the epidemic. The bank’s catastrophe response initiative reduced the hospitality industry’s tax burden by paying municipal dues in Greater Banjul.
The Gambian government helped resuscitate the resort and tourist sector by granting discounts to formal as well as casual sector workers and firms. The federal government developed a $1.85 million pool for 6,000 casual sector employees with a $50 one-time payment.