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Boost for Kenya’s fight against Coronavirus as World Bank agrees to wire Sh5 billion

By Dominic Omondi | April 4th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Kenya’s fight against coronavirus pandemic got a major boost after the World Bank approved emergency funding of Sh5 billion.

The funds, said the World Bank in a press statement, will enhance the country’s capacity to manage Covid-19 crisis. It will cover costs related to tests, quarantine, isolation and treat people affected by the deadly virus that has so far claimed three lives in Kenya.

Other areas to be financed by the kitty include medical waste disposal, risk communications and community engagement, as well as strengthening the country’s capacity to provide safe blood.

“This facility will assist Kenya in its efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness,” said Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, the World Bank Country Director for Kenya.

COVID-19, he reckons, also threatens the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Kenyans and there is need for a rapid response to ensure food security, good nutrition and schooling are not disrupted.

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Kenya has so far recorded 110 cases of COVID-19. Tough measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus including the dusk-to-dawn curfew and a ban on social gathering have left a lot of businesses gasping for breath. Thousands of people have been rendered jobless as the pandemic continues to bite.

The contribution comes at a time when the National Treasury has set up an emergency fund to contain COVID-19.

Besides monies appropriated by National Assembly, the Fund shall also consist of “grants, donations, subscriptions, bequests or other gifts made towards the Fund.”

Besides procuring essential supplies, including drugs, medical equipment, and securing quarantine facilities, the money from the fund will also be used to cushion vulnerable Kenyans against the disease.

The money will also be used to take care of frontline workers - doctors, nurses, immigration and security officers who are exposed to the dangers of the pandemic.

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