The World Bank has announced an emergency US$200 million grant to support Yemen as it struggles to contain one of the world’s largest cholera outbreaks. This will strengthen the country’s health, water and sanitation systems, addressing the source of the epidemic and improving systems to prevent future outbreaks.
The integrated support package financed by the new grant will include the training of 7,500 health workers, strengthening the local capacity to treat and manage cholera cases, provision of bulk chlorination of water supplies, rehabilitation of critical wastewater treatment plants, supporting mass communication and social mobilization campaigns, and supporting one the largest ever cholera vaccine campaigns aiming to reach millions of Yemenis.
Funded by the Crisis Response Window of IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, the new grant will expand the scope of the ongoing Emergency Health and Nutrition Project (EHNP) to reach a total of 13 million Yemenis with essential health and nutrition services and 4.5 million Yemenis with access to water and sanitation services. To date, the EHNP has supported, among other activities, the delivery of over 500 tons of medicines and the successful treatment of more than 200,000 cases of cholera. The additional financing, implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations’ Children Fund (UNICEF) working closely with Yemeni health and water institutions, will build on these achievements.
In parallel with the rehabilitation and expansion of health services, the new grant will fund the repair of critical water and sewerage networks, and the protection and monitoring of the sources of water. This will include the rehabilitation of water and sanitation systems in cholera hot spots, especially urban centers, as well as in health facilities, schools, public markets and other communal gathering places. The expanded project will also focus on the building up of capacities at the institutional, community and household level to monitor the quality of water and to respond in the event of another public health crisis. The new financing brings the total of emergency support for Yemen over the past year to US$1.19 billion, with the bulk of the funds provided by grants from IDA.