The African Development Bank has provided a grant of $165 million to Ethiopia to help tackle the spreading coronavirus pandemic in the country, APA learnt on Saturday.The Board of Directors of the AfDB’s African Development Fund (ADF) on Friday approved the grant as Ethiopia intensifies its response to the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The intervention will include helping to ease fiscal pressures on the Ethiopian economy.
The grant will go into funding the activities of Ethiopia’s COVID-19 National Emergency Response Plan (NERP).
The NERP’s aims to expand social protection coverage for the most vulnerable, enhance capacity to contain outbreaks, and address macro-fiscal imbalances as well as cushioning the effects of the crisis on the private sector.
“This Bank’s support will especially help local businesses and vulnerable households, particularly the urban poor,” said Abdul Kamara, the Bank’s Country manager for Ethiopia.
“The program will increase the number of COVID-19 testing laboratories, train 45,000 healthcare workers in COVID-19 response, and aid in rolling out a risk-communication and community engagement strategy to raise awareness on transmission and prevention” he said.
Ethiopia’s health system is barely functional, with only three hospital beds per 10,000 persons.
The ADF intervention will cover the refurbishment of 300 isolation centers, 34 treatment centers and 100 quarantine centers.
As of 1 July 2020, Ethiopia had recorded close to 6,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 2,430 recoveries and 103 deaths.
Ethiopia like the rest of Africa, is feeling the impact of the pandemic, which is threatening to reverse its recent economic gains with the agricultural sector facing complex and multiple shocks, including a locust invasion and climate uncertainties which undermines the work of farmers.