WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, June 19, 2020/ — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved today a US$48-million loan to help Morocco manage the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic as the Kingdom is exiting strict lockdown measures.
The loan is part of an ongoing Program for Results project, approved in 2015, and aiming to support primary health care services. Through a project restructuring, a total US$13.01 million of undisbursed funds under the Program, and an additional US$35 million from the WBG Fast Track COVID-19 Facility (FTCF), will support the government’s COVID-19 health sector response by strengthening prevention, detection, surveillance, and case management.
“The government has already taken significant steps to contain the outbreak and lessen impact on vulnerable sectors and households,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “The critical phase the country is entering will require continued strong efforts to contain the pandemic and mobilize resources to finance the sanitary response. Through the current support, we intend to provide Morocco with additional resources to enhance its testing capacity and develop preventive solutions against virus spread.”
Under the current restructuring, the scope of the initial Primary Health Program is expanded to include a COVID-19 response component. The PforR will increase the Ministry of Health’s budget prioritization effort during this crisis and strengthen hospital readiness for this emergency. The allocated budget finances the procurement of drugs, equipment, and medical supplies. In addition, it will help finance technical and medical equipment for laboratories and hospitals accredited to manage COVID-19 cases and scale up testing capacity and case management. In this critical phase, mass COVID-19 testing will be needed to ensure that the pandemic curve rapidly flattens, enabling the economy to reopen.
“Through the allocated envelope, our support will help finance about a quarter of the government program to manage pandemic effects. By enhancing disease surveillance systems, the program intends to combine detection of new cases with active contact tracing, which are priority measures in this post-containment phase,” said Fatima El Kadiri, Health specialist and co-Task team leader.
Besides, theThe World Bank loan will also provide additional resources for equipment and training of health workers. “Health personnel have been in at the frontline in the management of the COVID19 crisis. Minimizing risks for them and equipping them with hygiene and protective materials is a critical aspect that the World Bank’s support will help address,” said Aissatou Diack, Senior Health specialist and co-Task team leader.