The FINANCIAL — According to World Bank, Germany is contributing 10 million euros (about US$12.1 million) to the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Trust Fund Program (HEPR Program), established last year to help developing countries respond to the health consequences of COVID-19 and increase investments in health preparedness and emergency response.
The HEPR Program aims to help eligible countries and territories improve their ability to prevent and respond to the impact of epidemics on populations. It is complementary to the World Bank’s response to help countries address the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Japan is the founding donor to HEPR Program, contributing $100 million.
“The Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program is an important tool that expands the ability of the World Bank and our partners to deliver, broad, fast action to support low-income countries and the most vulnerable communities, including refugees,” said Mamta Murthi, Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank. “We are thankful to the Government of Germany for this generous contribution and for the continued partnership on the global health security agenda.”
As World Bank notes, since its establishment in June 2020, allocations from the HEPR program have been made to 14 economies, and to one regional organization. They include:
US$22.4 million to improve preparedness for future health emergencies in five low-income IDA-eligible countries (Lao PDR, Madagascar, Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Timor-Leste); two IBRD-eligible countries (Eswatini and Bosnia & Herzegovina) and to the East Central and Southern Africa Health Community to support the cross-border coordination of health emergency preparedness efforts in Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.
US$28 million to support COVID-19 responses, particularly for vaccine planning and implementation in four low-income IDA-eligible countries (Cambodia, Lesotho, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone) and West Bank & Gaza and in two countries not eligible for IDA (Sudan and Zimbabwe). The support also includes funding for refugees in Lebanon and Jordan to access COVID-19 services.
Activities funded under the HEPR Program help countries respond to COVID-19 and prepare for future health emergencies. This includes improving disease surveillance and health emergency preparedness; developing integrated human and animal health policies; developing preparedness assessments and plans; conducting simulation exercises, enhancing health systems and facilities for future emergencies; establish rapid procurement systems for supplies and equipment; and training of health workers.
Given the urgent needs countries face in addressing the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, HEPR Program also supports countries with their vaccination roll outs, including implementing digital tools for vaccine registration, training health workers and community leaders, and developing communications and awareness raising campaigns to combat misinformation.