**Jerusalem, February 6, 2022- **An additional grant of $3.75 million has been allocated for the ongoing COVID-19 emergency response in the West Bank and Gaza. The additional funding will continue to support the Palestinian Authority’s response to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the continuity of essential health services and contributing to long-term resilience.
The grant will be disbursed through the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Health Emergency Preparedness and Response (HEPR) administered by the World Bank. It is a flexible rapid funding mechanism to help countries and territories improve their capacities to prepare, prevent, respond to and mitigate the impact of epidemics on populations.
“*COVID-19 continues to pose a high risk of morbidity and mortality, as well as a burden on health systems. Due to low testing capacity in the Palestinian territories, the number of COVID-19 cases is underestimated. Yet the numbers of new infections reported daily continue to reach new highs. The additional funding will support the initial project by providing an immediate response to COVID-19, but also contributing to long-term resilience, * “, said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza.
Beyond strengthening overall health services and clinical capacity in immediate response to COVID-19 under the parent project, the new grant focuses on purchasing supplies and equipment that could be used to promote resilience to future pandemics and health shocks. These include drugs for the treatment of health emergencies and chronic diseases as well as emergency medical devices and equipment including defibrillators, vital signs monitors, crash carts, patient beds, banks mobile blood stations, ultrasound machines, generators, etc.
The operation will also aim to reduce the limitations of access to health care faced by rural and marginalized communities. For example, women living in remote areas often find it difficult to access health services due to the distance from health facilities and lack of transportation. The mobile clinics funded through the additional funding will ensure equitable access to quality care for populations often left behind. The World Bank will continue to build resilience and pandemic preparedness in the health system through technical and operational engagement with the Ministry of Health and other sector partners.
West Bank and Gaza
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