WB prepares $247.5m PREP to help Pakistan fight coronavirus

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) has said that it has prepared a $247.5 million programme to support Pakistan’s frontline healthcare staff and those whom lives have been affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has aggravated the human and economic sufferings across the globe.

According to an article published by the bank, “The WB’s Pakistan team stepped up to handle the challenge by preparing the $200 million Pandemic Response Effectiveness in Pakistan (PREP) project, supported by an additional $47.5 million from our existing projects.”

The WB further stated in the article that PREP was a uniquely nimble project that progressed from inception to implementation in just 10 days.

“Processes that usually take 10 months or more, such as opening designated accounts, were greatly accelerated. As of April 23, the project has disbursed $69.8 million to enable an early response to the emergency. This was made possible because of the close working relationship between the bank and the government, and an exemplary collaboration across a team spanning multiple sectors and time zones.”

It said that the WB’s support had already helped those people whose lives had been affected by the emergency coronavirus-induced lockdown.

Besides, the project provided personal protective equipment (PPE)– masks, gloves, protective suits, gowns, coveralls, shoe covers, goggles and face shields— to doctors and paramedics in order to protect them as they had a high risk of infection. “The first consignment of PPE has already been delivered,” it stated.

Additionally, PREP would help establish quarantine facilities in collaboration with public and private hospitals and would supply diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and other essential equipment.

It will also strengthen laboratory capacity and train staff to enhance the country’s detection capacity.

Turning this crisis into an opportunity for revolutionising the education and learning agenda through technology, the Pakistan government, with support from the PREP, has launched the Teleschool initiative.

“This platform is a dedicated TV channel operating between 8am and 6pm, with educational content for students (Grades I to XII), to compensate for school closures due to the lockdown,” the article stated.

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