Nicaragua

Nicaragua: WB approves US$5 million donation to combat the spread of A/H1N1 influenza

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Press Release No: 2010/204/LAC

MANAGUA, December 18, 2009 - The World Bank backed the Nicaraguan government's efforts to contain the spread and effects of A/H1N1 influenza after approving a US$5 million donation yesterday.

This contribution will finance a health project aimed at acquiring medicines and equipment to treat the affected population, while reinforcing prevention mechanisms among high risk groups.

"This donation supports the objectives of the National Government Plan to prevent and mitigate the spread of the influenza pandemic, providing adequate treatment and increasing health controls and attention for people affected by the virus," said Laura Frigenti, World Bank Director for Central America.

Since the first A/H1N1 virus outbreak was detected back in April, more than 4,000 people have died from the disease, out of a total 185,000 infections, according to Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) figures.

World Bank officials pointed out that the project reinforces the control and prevention mechanisms established by the Nicaraguan government in response to the epidemic outbreak.

"This donation contributes to strengthening the response capacity of the national health system in view of the emergency created by this virus and the outbreaks of infectious and chronic diseases in at-risk populations," Joseph Owen, World Bank Resident Representative in Nicaragua, pointed out.

This health initiative is geared toward:

- Acquiring and distributing specific medicines at Local Comprehensive Health Attention Systems (Sistemas Locales de Atención Integral de Salud, SILAIS) in order to prevent sickness or death among populations infected by the A/H1N1 human influenza virus, as well as purchasing and distributing protective systems to avoid contagion of health workers.

- Supporting and strengthening epidemiologic vigilance and prevention programs at the national and departmental level, as well as improving the national and local capacity for early detection and prevention by training Health Ministry staff, traditional health workers, teachers and other community leaders.

- Strengthening the communication and prevention strategy to improve awareness among the population and mitigate the effects of the virus at the local level through the circulation of material related to the A/H1N1 virus via radio, local newspaper, the community, outreach workshops, local brigades, and other communication strategies.

For more information on the World Bank's work in Nicaragua, please visit: http://www.bancomundial.org/nicaragua

Contacts:

In Managua: María Teresa Norori Paniagua (505) 270-0000
mnorori@worldbank.org

In Washington: Stevan Jackson (202) 458-5054
sjackson@worldbank.org