Norway is the first country to support the World Bank’s new multidonor fund for the fight against Ebola. ‘It is positive that the World Bank is setting up a fund to put the health sector in the affected countries in a better position to deal with the crisis. Norway will contribute nearly NOK 70 million to the fund,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Mr Brende took part in a high-level meeting on the Ebola crisis in Washington DC on 9 October, in connection with the World Bank’s annual meeting. The presidents of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, together with the leaders of the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the IMF and the UN made an urgent joint appeal to the international community to make far more funding immediately available for the fight against Ebola in West Africa.
‘The meeting underlined the seriousness of the situation. This is a severe health crisis. But it is also an economic crisis that is reversing many years of development in the affected countries. Everyone agreed that the only effective solution is a large-scale coordinated effort to stop the epidemic,’ said Mr Brende.
The new fund will support measures such as recruitment of health workers and upgrading of clinics, hospitals and laboratories. It is also intended to revive the many economic activities that have come to a standstill as a result of the crisis.
Mr Brende emphasised that the new fund must supplement rather than overlap with the work that the UN is already doing, and that it is essential for the World Bank to cooperate closely with WHO and other relevant actors.
Earlier this week the Government doubled its funding for the fight against Ebola, bringing Norway’s contribution up to a total of NOK 184 million. With the addition of this pledge to the new fund, Norway’s support will amount to NOK 254 million.