The World Bank has approved a $48-million loan to Morocco to enable the country mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic which has so far infected 8,985 people in the North African Kingdom, killed 212, while 7,960 others recovered.
The loan, which is part of an ongoing Program for Results project, approved in 2015, aims to support primary health care services. Through a project restructuring, a total $13 million of undisbursed funds under the Program, and an additional $35 million from the WBG Fast Track COVID-19 Facility (FTCF), will support the government’s covid-19 health sector response by strengthening prevention, detection, surveillance, and case management.
“The Moroccan government has already taken significant steps to contain the outbreak and lessen impact on vulnerable sectors and households,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb Country Director.
“The critical phase the country is entering will require continued strong efforts to contain the pandemic and mobilize resources to finance the sanitary response”, he added, noting that through the current financial support, the WB intends to provide Morocco with additional resources to enhance its testing capacity and develop preventive solutions against the virus spread.
Under the current restructuring, the scope of the initial Primary Health Program is expanded to include a covid-19 response component. The PforR will increase the Ministry of Health’s budget prioritization effort during this crisis and strengthen hospital readiness for this emergency.
The WB funding will be used for the purchase of drugs, equipment, and medical supplies. It will help finance technical and medical equipment for laboratories and hospitals accredited to manage COVID-19 cases and scale up testing capacity and case management.
In this critical phase, mass covid-19 testing will be needed to ensure that the pandemic curve rapidly flattens, enabling the economy to reopen.