The World Bank approved EUR 90 million (US$ 98.5 million equivalent) of financing to support North Macedonia’s efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19, strengthen national systems for public health preparedness, and help mitigate some of the social consequences of the pandemic, the World Bank Skopje Office says on Friday.
“The Emergency COVID-19 Response Project will provide immediate support to limit the local transmission of the virus by strengthening disease surveillance systems and public health laboratories through the procurement of diagnostic kits, reagents, consumables, personal protective equipment and training on relevant protocols. Support will also be provided for limited renovations to create additional Intensive Care Unit beds, for medical waste management and disposal systems, and to mobilize additional health system capacity through financing the salaries of trained and well-equipped frontline health workers who were not envisioned in the state budget, reads the press release.
The project will also finance temporary income support to eligible individuals and households to enable them to comply with the social distancing measures the government has introduced to contain the pandemic, while protecting household income. This includes finance for the provision of temporary social assistance through cash transfers to vulnerable households affected by the economic consequences of COVID-19 and the provision of food and basic supplies to quarantined populations and households affected by the virus.
It will also finance temporary unemployment insurance through the provision of a cash benefit for those who have lost their jobs due to the crisis.