LA PAZ, May 8, 2020 – Through the restructuring of the Healthcare Service Network Project requested by Bolivia’s Ministry of Development Planning, the World Bank has made US$170 million immediately available to strengthen the capacity of the healthcare system’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The resources are being used to purchase supplies, equipment and materials for Covid-19 prevention, screening and treatment, as well as for the protection of healthcare professionals.
Specific purchases include diagnostic and screening equipment and supplies for intermediate and intensive care, including mechanical ventilators and vital signs monitors; the equipment and medicines needed for treating the sick; isolation, disinfection and protection materials for staff at healthcare facilities; and the adaptation of hospital facilities. This procurement package was prioritized by the Ministry of Health.
“The World Bank has a strong commitment to the health and well-being of Bolivians. We know that this is a very difficult time that requires an immediate response to manage the Covid-19 pandemic. To this end, we have made rapid, efficient support available to the country to address the most urgent needs with a view to protecting the most vulnerable population,” said the World Bank Director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, Marianne Fay.
In addition to financial resources, the World Bank’s technical, environmental, social and procurement teams are working in coordination with government officials and technicians. The mentioned procurement and contracting of equipment and supplies are carried out by the Ministry of Health (MH) and the Health Infrastructure and Medical Equipment Agency (AISEM for its Spanish acronym), not directly by the World Bank.
It is important to highlight that in a national emergency situation and given market conditions at a time of high international demand, simplified competitive quote request procedures are being used for emergency purchases in most cases. All procurement processes with World Bank financial resources are approved through its Systematic Tracking of Exchanges in Procurement system (STEP) and published in the respective Procurement Plans on the Bank's website. No other international cooperation organization or agency audits the aforementioned procurement processes. Furthermore, all projects financed by the World Bank are rigorously supervised by our technical and fiduciary teams, in accordance with the organization’s policies, which guarantees the transparency and integrity of the processes. Additionally, the MH and AISEM have a legal obligation to contract an external and independent financial audit for all transactions carried out.
In March 2019, the US$ 300 million Healthcare Service Network Project was implemented to improve access and quality of healthcare services for 3.8 million people. In light of the current emergency, a new component was created in the framework of this project and an amendment to the original legal agreements, which is retroactive to March of this year, have enabled the use of resources to support efforts to contain Covid-19 and protect the population. Initially, US$20 million were made available, and subsequently an additional US$150 million, for a total of US$170 million in immediately available funds.
World Bank Group Response to COVID-19 (coronavirus) The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help 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. 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.