The World Bank Group has provided an additional $100 million to fill what it describes as a critical gap in the Ebola response funding to speed up the deployment of foreign health workers to Ebola affected countries and Ghana.
The latest financial package brings to more than $500 million money the World Bank Group has expended in the last three months on the fight against the Ebola outbreak.
The President of the group, Dr Jim Yong Kim, who addressed journalists after holding a closed-door meeting with Vice-President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur at the Flagstaff House yesterday, thanked Ghana for playing an important role in the international response to contain the spread of the disease.
He expressed appreciation to the Government of Ghana for allowing the headquarters of the United Nations Mission on Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) to be sited in the country to serve as the centre for Ebola response.
“History will record the importance of what Ghana has done to have kept open an important link to the three countries at a time when many countries around the world had closed their borders,” Dr Kim said.
The World Bank boss indicated that the ability to mobilise enough international health teams to the three affected countries — Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia — was very important to the international effort to contain the outbreak.
Dr Kim indicated that the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Noachian Zuma, had promised to help deploy 2,000 health workers from African countries to the affected nations.
He paid glowing tribute to the Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyata, who had mobilised 600 volunteer health workers from his country for the same purpose.
In an answer to a question, he conceded that international response to Ebola had come in late.
He also expressed concern over the closure of borders by some countries, saying “that is not the right approach to fighting Ebola”.
He stressed that what was needed now was to bring the risk of infection to “zero” by providing the right kind of care.
The Head of the UNMEER, Mr Anthony Banbury, thanked the World Bank Group for the additional financial support to the Ebola fight, describing it as a huge step forward.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said the visit of the World Bank boss was at the invitation of the government and reiterated Ghana’s resolve to lead the campaign to rally support for the affected countries.