COVID-19 : PEF Allocates $195M To Over 60 Low-Income Countries
… Financial Disbursements Begin Next Week
The Steering Body of the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) today announced the allocation of $195.84 million to 64 of the world’s poorest countries with reported cases of COVID-19.
Special attention, PEF said will be given to areas with the most vulnerable populations, especially in fragile and conflict-affected countries.
The funds will provide additional support to these countries in their COVID-19 response, including essential and critical lifesaving medical equipment, personal protective equipment, therapeutics and medicine, and support for health workers on the frontlines of the crisis.
The allocation of $195.84 million is the amount received when the PEF insurance window triggered for COVID-19 as reported by AIR Worldwide, an independent calculation agent.
At the time all trigger conditions were met, 4,653 cases, or 0.62 per cent of reported COVID-19 cases globally, were from the world’s poorest countries that are members of the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA).
The PEF funding will provide a boost of financing to support the immediate health response early in the outbreak in IDA countries with COVID-19 cases (with 35,195 cases, or 1.34 per cent of reported COVID-19 cases globally as of April 24, 2020).
According to the Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank, Annette Dixon,“This funding is in addition to the World Bank Group’s commitment of up to $160 billion to fight COVID-19. PEF funding will supplement the critical emergency support operations underway to help save lives, detect, prevent and respond to Coronavirus in poor countries.”
Specific funding allocations will be determined by population size and reported cases, with a minimum of $1 million and maximum of $15 million going to each country and a heavier weight given to countries classified as fragile or conflict-affected.
These countries, PEF said face greater challenges with their health systems and are home to the most vulnerable people, adding that before COVID-19 crisis hit, it was already estimated that up to two thirds of the world’s extreme poor would live in fragile and conflict affected areas by 2030.
Deputy Director General of the International Bureau, Ministry of Finance, Japan, Shigeru Ariizumi, said, “COVID-19 will hit the poorest countries the hardest . This funding from the PEF will help the poorest countries with the most vulnerable health systems boost their response to this unprecedented global health crisis.”
On his part, the Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, Gerd Müller, said, “We welcome that the PEF now provides urgently needed help for the poorest countries. Crisis and refugee regions in particular need rapid support for stabilization. This is an important lesson from past health crises.”
The PEF Funds will be used to help vulnerable countries scale up testing, quickly identify new cases and treat them and rapidly trace and isolate their contacts.
The financing will also be used to help train health workers and maintain the delivery of essential health services to households.
According to Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme and co-chair of the PEF Steering Body, Michael Ryan, “These funds directed at the most vulnerable countries show solidarity in the face of a common threat.”
Financial disbursements from the PEF will begin as soon as next week, as governments from each of the countries submit authorized funding allocation requests.
The PEF was established in 2016 to provide financial support to IDA-eligible countries in case of major multi-country disease outbreaks.
The PEF was designed to provide financing through either its cash or insurance windows, covering six viruses that are most likely to cause a pandemic.
The PEF cash window paid out $61.4 million in support of the response to the 9th and 10th Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018 and 2019.