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An aerial view of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana (File photo)

World Bank loan to ‘strengthen’ Guyana’s COVID-19 response

An aerial view of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana (File photo)

A US$7.5-million loan from the World Bank will support the Guyana COVID-19 Emergency Response Project as the South American country seeks to strengthen its health system while grappling with the pandemic.

“The World Bank is working with member countries in the Caribbean to help them respond to COVID-19 and prepare for a resilient recovery. This financing for Guyana will help the country tackle the current crisis and handle future emergencies,” Tahseen Sayed, World Bank country director for the Caribbean, remarked.

World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean Tahseen Sayed (File photo)

“The project will strengthen care for COVID-19 patients, improve the country’s ability to identify positive cases, and enhance the health system’s capacity to deliver critical care to vulnerable populations, including the elderly and people with chronic conditions.”

Hospital care and community outreach

Specifically, the Guyana COVID-19 Emergency Response Project aims to strengthen laboratory capacity, support screening and surveillance, improve contact tracing, and equip health care facilities to offer more effective treatment and care of COVID-19 patients.

(Photo: WIC News)

Another component of the project will include activities specifically targeted to reach communities across the country and in the hinterland regions through expansion of contact tracing and psychosocial support to vulnerable households.

“Risk communication materials will be translated into local languages to ensure that vulnerable groups have access to reliable information about the virus and its spread. Finally, the project will also contribute to preparing the health system for the effective deployment of a safe and approved COVID-19 vaccine,” a release from the World Bank outlined.

More loans

The loan comes with interest-free financing from the International Development Association (IDA), and has a maturity of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years. In late July 2020, Guyana also benefitted from a US$1-million grant through the World Bank-administered, PAHO/WHO- disbursed Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF).

In fact, just earlier this month Guyana received a US$22-million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) under the Contingent Credit Facility for Natural Disaster and Public Health Emergencies. As with the loan from the World Bank, the funds from the IDB will assist the country in strengthening its health system.

However, the $22-million facility will cover expenses associated with containing the spread of COVID-19.

Inter-American Development Bank (Photo: Devex)

“The resources of the loan will be used for, among other needs, the purchase of medical equipment, laboratory equipment and inputs, ambulances, and personal protective equipment for health workers, surveillance officers, border personnel. The operation will benefit the affected population of Guyana that receives emergency assistance under the proposed coverage,” the IDB stated then.