In light of the lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016, the WorldBank has made a commitment to assist the countries in West Africa and across the continent in improving their capacity to detect, prevent and respond to disease outbreaks, that means that we need to invest in surveillance systems, epidemic preparedness and response, and laboratory capacity.
There are several initiatives that have been put forward to do this, several of them are regional, including the West Africa REDISSE project. Out of the 15 ECOWAS countries, 10 of them are receiving funding directly from the world bank, in form of loans, credit or grants, that amounts to almost $400 million in assistance to strengthen the system in the countries that make the prevention of epidemics possible.
The Regional Disease Surveillance System Enhancement (REDISSE) Program (which is an interdependent series of projects including REDISSE 1, 2 and 3) is adding value by financing regional level policy dialogue and activities that promoting information exchange, collective and timely actions and efficient use of country and shared resources for disease surveillance and response.
The REDISSE 2 project provides four countries – including Nigeria – with financing that is under their direct control to address identified priorities. The REDISSE 2 project was approved by the Board of Directors on 1 March 2017 and is now effective in all countries.
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Reviewing the implementation of the program at the opening of the ongoing technical sub-committee meeting of the REDISSE project, the World Bank expressed displeasure that REDISSE 1 (Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Senegal) has a disbursement ratio of only 14%, compelling the downgrading in June 2018 from Satisfactory to Moderate, warning that it could fall to Unsatisfactory “unless the pace of implementation increases.”
The REDISSE 2 (Togo, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, and Liberia) has disbursement ratio of 9%, a big portion of which is for activation of the CERC in Nigeria due to the Lassa Fever, warning also that the project is at risk of ratings downgrade this year.
Implementation of the REDISSE Project in Nigeria:
REDISSE 2 became effective in Nigeria in February 2018 and was officially launched on April 27, 2018. All but one of the dated covenants – Project Implementation Manual – have been met within stipulated time from the date that the project was declared effective.
Nigeria has completed staffing of PIU (within Nigeria CDC) and recruited a procurement consultant. National Steering Committee has been set up in Nigeria and approved draft AWPB to the WBG. To strengthen the financial management (FM) arrangements for the project, PIU has shared draft FM
manual and recruited experienced project accountant and internal auditor as stipulated in the PAD.
The contingency emergency response component (CERC) of the project was successfully activated to support the Government of Nigeria’s response to the ongoing Lassa fever outbreak within two weeks of project effectiveness.
The WorldBank team worked with the client to mobilize resources through REDISSE for the implementation of the Lassa fever emergency response plan. Supervision of the response is ongoing. It is worthy of note that the REDISSE CERC activation was the first time that CERC will be activated for a health project.
Speaking at the opening of the technical sub-committee meeting of the REDISSE project, Mr. John Paul Clark, World Bank Senior Health Specialist urged participants to take our work here very seriously. ‘We need to see both what is and what is not working well in planning and implementation. What can we do better?’
“This is our opportunity to discuss the challenges we face openly, to identify some best practices and to advise each other on how best to move forward towards our objective of building capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease threats in West Africa,” Clark said.