The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a $60 million grant investment as part of a $210 million package for immediate implementation to help strengthen West Africa’s public health systems in response to the Ebola crisis. The bank’s board, traditionally in recess during the month of August, convened an emergency meeting demonstrating the urgency of the situation and the Bank’s commitment to curb this global public health emergency.

With over 2,000 cases and 1,145 people confirmed dead, this is a wakeup call for the international community that this tragedy could have been prevented if investments were directed towards building stronger health systems. The disease outbreak originated in Guinea in March 2014 and rapidly spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

  “This is one of the most complicated health crises we have ever known. We are not simply dealing with a health problem but with the breakdown of entire health systems in some of the countries in the (West Africa) region,” AfDB President Donald Kaberuka told Executive Directors in Abidjan who participated in the Board meeting through video and telephone link-ups.

  This grant is part of a $210 million package which includes $150 million in both loans and grants, along with the $60 million grant, which has been awarded to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) sub-regional Ebola outbreak Coordinating Center located in Conakry, Guinea, given their extensive experience with global epidemics. The $60 million sum includes four emergency assistance grants of $1 million to each of the four countries affected by Ebola to help them contain the disease.

  The $60 million grant is awarded to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) sub-regional Ebola Outbreak Coordinating Center located in Conakry, Guinea, given their extensive experience with global epidemics. The project will support ongoing efforts to reduce morbidity, mortality from Ebola and help break the chain of transmission of the disease by strengthening sub-regional public health systems. It will support West Africa’s Ebola disease outbreak response plan from August to December 2014.

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