WASHINGTON, DC, May 1, 2020 (CMC) – St. Lucia will benefit from US$10.5 million, activated from World Bank projects, to support the country’s COVID-19 response, the financial institution announced, yesterday.
The Washington-headquartered World Bank stated, the financing will strengthen St. Lucia’s efforts to address the health and economic impacts of the pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 234,000 people, worldwide.
“The health and socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 are placing a heavy burden on the countries of the Caribbean,” said World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, Tahseen Sayed.
“This immediate World Bank financing will contribute to strengthening St. Lucia’s healthcare system, and support its efforts to manage the impact of the pandemic. It will also provide much-needed income support opportunities, through the rehabilitation of medical facilities.”
St. Lucia reported, on Wednesday, that it has two active COVID-19 cases, less than a week after announcing that all 15 of its previous cases had recovered.
The World Bank said financing for the island’s healthcare system will help increase testing capabilities, build isolation units, and enhance public information campaigns, to assist with awareness and prevention.
It will also support the rehabilitation of Victoria Hospital and other medical facilities, creating employment, through the associated labour-intensive civil works that will also enhance infrastructure resilience.
The funds were accessed, under the Contingency Emergency Response Components of the St. Lucia Health System Strengthening Project and the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project, in the amounts of US$5 million and US$5.5 million, respectively.
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, said it was helping developing countries strengthen their pandemic response.
“We are increasing disease surveillance, improving public health interventions, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs,” it said. “Over the next 15 months, we will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support, to help countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, including $50 billion of new IDA resources, in grants or highly-concessional terms.”