An aerial view of Haiti's second-largest city, Cap Haitien. (Photo: Plan It Smarter)

World Bank US$20-m grant boosts Haiti’s COVID-19 response efforts

An aerial view of Haiti's second-largest city, Cap Haitien. (Photo: Plan It Smarter)

Haiti’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response efforts will receive a US$20-million boost from the World Bank, whose executive directors yesterday approved the disbursement of the grant through from the International Development Association.

(Photo: WIC News)

With the funds, the World Bank is providing budgetary support to the French-speaking Caribbean country with the aim of improving its ability to ease the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and strengthen resilience to natural hazards and health-related shocks.

“The downturn in the economy caused by the spread of COVID-19 will pose a setback for poverty reduction and inclusive growth in Haiti. This operation supports key policy reforms to reduce the negative economic and social impacts on the most vulnerable,” Anabela Abreu, World Bank Country Director for Haiti, pointed out.

World Bank Country Director for Haiti
Anabela Abreu (File photo)

“A stronger institutional framework will also increase resilience to future disasters, which is particularly important given the country’s high exposure to hurricanes and other natural hazards,” she added

Government action

On March 19, the Haitian Government declared a state of emergency as part of plans to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on poor and vulnerable households. In addition, the country’s leadership announced early actions including containment measures and a social protection programme.

Haitian Government officials with President Jovenel Moise (at front, centre). (File photo)

With the hurricane season approaching, the challenges which Haiti faces have increased as the nation remains highly vulnerable to natural hazards.

World Bank assistance

According to the World Bank, the Haiti COVID-19 Response and Resilience Development Policy Operation supports health emergency preparedness and response capacity and the strengthening of the social protection system for improved emergency cash transfer programmes. Additional actions include the operationalization of the National Disaster Risk Management System (SNGRD) and the new Civil Protection General Directorate (DGPC), together with the development of a National Disaster Risk Financing Strategy.

View of a shanty town in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Photo: Blockchain Land)

This operation is part of a broader package of support from the World Bank that includes the US$20-million Haiti COVID-19 Response Project, focused on efforts in the health sector to limit the transmission of COVID-19 through detection and infection control. Ongoing projects have provided rapid financing for priorities such as food security under the Haiti Resilient Productive Landscape Project, and social protection using cash transfers under the Municipal Development and Urban Resilience Project.

Haiti’s COVID-19 cases jumped significantly over the last month to 5,847.