By Chioma Obinna
The World Bank Board of Directors has approved the 3rd Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement, REDISSE, project, committing additional US$120 million to the work plans.
Disclosing this at the ongoing technical sub-committee meeting of the REDISSE project in Lagos, World Bank Senior Health Specialist, Mr John Paul Clark, explained that the REDISSE project is a Regional project funded by the World Bank, covering all 15 ECOWAS’ countries and Mauritania, in five-year phases from 2016 to 2023.
The first phase covers three countries, namely Guinea, Senegal and Sierra Leone, the second phase four countries, Nigeria, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Togo.
The Project also has a total of USD 367.8 million and aims to strengthen disease surveillance and response systems at the regional level and in the ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania.
Its implementation is in the third phase, covering four countries – Benin, Mali, Niger and Mauritania.
Clark said REDISSE project was now providing credits and grants to 11 countries and West African Health Organisation, WAHO, with the budget growing to US$400 million.
He further noted that REDISSE is the World Bank’s Flagship investment in both Health Security and the One Health agenda.
Reviewing the implementation of the programme, the World Bank expressed displeasure that REDISSE 1 (Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal) has a disbursement ratio of only 14 per cent, 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 per cent, 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.
“As such, we need 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.
While declaring the meeting open, WAHO Director-General, Prof Stanley Okolo, charged participants to assess the status of implementation of the recommendations of the first Regional Steering Committee Meeting.
Represented by the Dr Carlos Brito, he explained that the meeting has a “heavy task” of producing a strategy for implementation of the REDISSE Project, adding that success of the implementation of the project was very important to us.”
While thanking the technical partners such as WHO, OIE, RAHC, CCISD, FMx among others, he commended Nigerian Government for accepting to host the meeting.
The two-day technical sub-committee meeting is being attended by all the 15 ECOWAS member States and Mauritania.