With the latest death toll from the West Africa Ebola epidemic now at 887, the World Bank Group yesterday pledged as much as $200 million (over N32 billion) in emergency funding to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone contain the spread of Ebola infections, help their communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and improve public health systems throughout West Africa.
World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a medical doctor experienced in treatment of infectious diseases, said the new financing commitment was in response to a call from both the three African countries hardest-hit by Ebola and the World Health Organization (WHO) for immediate assistance to contain the outbreak.
He said the World Bank Group would also step up social safety net assistance for affected communities and families and help to build up public health systems in West Africa to strengthen the region’s disease control capacity more generally. Kim said he would brief the Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors as soon as possible on the latest state of the epidemic and seek their approval for the new emergency package.
“I am very worried that many more lives are at risk unless we can stop this Ebola epidemic in its tracks,” Kim said. “I have been monitoring its deadly impact around the clock and am deeply saddened at how it has ravaged health workers, families and communities, disrupted normal life, and has led to a breakdown of already weak health systems in the three countries.”
“The international community needs to act fast to contain and stop this Ebola outbreak. I believe this new World Bank emergency funding will provide critically needed support for the response to stop the further transmission of Ebola within Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, which would prevent new infections in neighbouring at-risk countries,” Kim added.
The World Bank Group president’s announcement came on the first day of the US-Africa Summit in Washington D.C, as he said that the new financial pledge would pay for urgently needed medical supplies, salaries for medical staff, and other vital materials to stabilize the health system, while also helping communities cope with financial hardship caused by the epidemic. The new Bank Group package will also help to build up the region’s disease surveillance and laboratory networks to guard against future epidemic outbreaks.
WHO leadership, he said, was vital to international and regional efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic, which is West Africa’s first-ever outbreak of Ebola virus disease but has become the largest ever in the nearly four-decade history of this disease. The World Bank Group he said would work in close coordination with the WHO and other partners such as ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States. The WHO has now set up an Ebola response center in Conakry.
“WHO welcomes this support from the World Bank, which comes at a time when concern about the Ebola virus disease is escalating,” said WHO Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan, in Geneva. “The demands created by this unprecedented outbreak outstrip the capacity of affected countries in West Africa to respond. So funding to increase national response capacities is a fundamentally important way to slow transmission and prevent spread to other areas.”
The World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, said the Bank’s latest emergency response will also include social safety net measures to help families and communities trying to cope with financial loss as a result of the outbreak.
“We will build up safety net protection measures for families and communities in the affected countries in light of the further hardship we expect Ebola will create for people who were already poor and vulnerable to begin with. They face the prospect of losing breadwinners and widespread disruption of their livelihoods which is why over and above containing the spread of the epidemic we also must help people in West Africa cope with its impact on their lives,” Diop said.
US Election: Trump Claims Victory Hours After Saying Biden Won
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has declared himself the winner of the US Election 2020.
President Trump declared himself the winner of the US election in a tweet on Monday morning, November 16 by simply tweeting: “I won the election.”
I WON THE ELECTION!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2020
This came hours after he tweeted that his opponent Joe Biden “won because the election was rigged.”
He won because the Election was Rigged. NO VOTE WATCHERS OR OBSERVERS allowed, vote tabulated by a Radical Left privately owned company, Dominion, with a bad reputation & bum equipment that couldn’t even qualify for Texas (which I won by a lot!), the Fake & Silent Media, & more! https://t.co/Exb3C1mAPg
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020
The latest vote tallies project Democratic candidate, Biden a clear winner in the state-by-state Electoral College that decides the presidency, with 306 votes against Trump’s 232.
However, President Trump has remained defiant, continuously claiming he won the election free and fair.
Former Ghana President, Jerry Rawlings Is Dead
Jerry Rawlings, a former Ghanaian president has reportedly died from suspected COVID-19 complications.
The former Ghanaian leader died at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, capital of Ghana on Thursday morning.
Rawlings led the country first as a military ruler and then as a democratically elected president between 1981 and 2001.
Rawlings initially rose to power in Ghana as a flight lieutenant in the Ghana Air Force, following a coup détat in 1979.
After initially handing power over to a civilian government, he took control again in December 1981 as Head of State.
He was re-elected in 1996 for four more years.
Rawlings left office in 2000 after exhausting Ghana’s constitutional term-limit of eight years for Presidents.
US Election Is Far From Over — Trump
Shortly after Biden was projected winner, Trump in a defiant statement expressed that the election was “far from over” and criticised Biden for “rushing to falsely pose as the winner.”
“Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor.
“Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media.
“Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated.
“The American people are entitled to an honest election, that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots,” Trump said.
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