The World Bank Group has approved a total of $18 million in two additional financing from the International Development Association (IDA) to support effective disease surveillance in West Africa.

The body said these financings would support the implementation of the ongoing Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Program (REDISSE) respectively in Benin ($6 million), Senegal ($7 million), and by the West Africa Health Organization, WAHO ($5 million).

The Brentwood institution in a statement on its official website noted that REDISSE is a regional multi-sectoral programme currently involving 16 countries in West and Central Africa – Angola, Benin, Chad, Central Africa Republic, Congo Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Togo.

It stated that its aim was to strengthen national and regional capacities to address disease threats at the human, animal, and environmental interface, which is the source of most known epidemic-prone and novel pathogens.

The REDISSE program was established prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and has proved to be instrumental to the initial emergency COVID-19 response activities, repurposing its funding to allow participating countries to undertake surveillance and contact tracing activities; conduct laboratory testing and diagnosis; procure essential drugs, equipment, material, and commodities; and organise training for healthcare staff.

World Bank Regional Integration Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa, Ms. Boutheina Guermazi said, “The existence of the REDISSE program in the countries prior to COVID-19 allowed the use of an already established platform, nascent systems, and financing to quickly kick-start COVID-19 emergency response, thanks to the flexibilities allowed by the programme’s design. These additional financings will help Benin, Senegal, and WAHO to complete the remaining originally planned activities to enhance surveillance and information systems, strengthen the laboratory systems, and build capacities to foster inter-country collaboration and coordination of disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness in West Africa.”

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