Fact Sheet: The World Bank Support to the 10th Ebola Outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo
Since August 1, 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been fighting its 10th Ebola outbreak in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces bordering Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda. The World Bank is supporting the DRC government as it leads the fight to contain the Ebola outbreak, which poses a deadly threat to human life not just in the DRC but also to surrounding countries.
Having successfully contained previous outbreaks, the DRC authorities and their international partners have strong experience in outbreak response. This time however, it has been complicated thanks to the security situation and more recently, political uncertainty. Community resistance to the response activities persist, while armed conflict in some areas creates a volatile security situation.
The World Bank’s Role in the 10th Outbreak
Financing the Response Effort
The World Bank is the main financial supporter of the DRC Ebola response. Thanks to the support of the World Bank and the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), unlike in previous Ebola outbreaks, financing has not been a constraint to mounting an effective response despite extremely challenging circumstances.
The Bank has been financing over sixty percent of the current Ebola response effort through IDA grants since the outbreak started, the rest being covered by other development partners.
An escalated response is planned from February to July 2019, which is estimated to cost $148 million. An announcement about additional WB financing to support this escalated response will be made very soon.
The PEF has been activated to support this escalated response. On February 19, 2019—three days after receiving a request for financial support from the government of the DRC—the PEF Steering Body approved $20 million in financing for escalated response efforts in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri.
What World Bank financing has supported since August 2018
World Bank financing has enabled a robust, fully rounded Ebola response by supporting three areas:
urgent outbreak response efforts, technical support and proactive pandemic preparedness investments in DRC as well as neighboring countries.
Urgent Outbreak Response Efforts
The establishment and operations of one of the Ebola treatment centers in Goma Free health care services at all health facilities in the health zones such as Beni, and Butembo affected by the outbreak, where health centers have seen a three to five-fold uptake in utilization of services as a result of Bank support. Through a contracting mechanism, the PDSS provides funding to subsidize fully a package of basic health services to remove financial barriers to access health care services and quicker detection of suspect Ebola cases. In addition to the funding, the PDSS also provides the health facilities with essential medicines. Hazard pay for about 60 percent of all frontline health responders – which is 1,800 Ebola responders supporting the implementation of the SRPs. Critical healthcare and surveillance facilities: including treatment centers, triage centers in Butembo and the functioning of laboratories in strategic areas and tightening surveillance in zones vulnerable to transmission due to population movement Community engagement efforts: risk communication and social mobilization which are crucial to build community support, limit transmission and ensure that new cases of the disease are reported immediately and treated.
World Bank technical experts have worked with the DRC Government since the start of the outbreak. They have supported development of various Ebola Strategic Response Plans (SRPs), setting guidelines and procedures around hazard pay, and support the development of the Center of Excellence for Ebola (CEE). The CEE is expected to serve as a national public health institution for DRC which will also play a regional role in the context of Ebola outbreaks.
Pandemic Preparedness in DRC and Neighboring Countries
The current Ebola response builds on several years of Bank support to DRC to build a strong health system which has enabled DRC to take a strong leadership role in the response effort. A Neighborhood Preparedness Plan, as well as financing, are in place for the nine countries that border the DRC. The World Bank has funding available in Burundi, CAR, Uganda, and through its East Africa Public Health Laboratory Networking Project which provides timely laboratory data for disease diagnosis and surveillance.
The Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility
The Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, or PEF, is the only innovative financing mechanism created specifically to combat pandemics which now covers all 77 IDA countries. It was created by the World Bank in partnership with Japan, Germany and Australia, and the World Health Organization.