The World Bank (WB) has selected on June 7 as the estimated appraisal date for the Azerbaijan COVID-19 Emergency Response Project, and its estimated board date for September 6, Report informs referring to the WB.
The Project will support the government of Azerbaijan curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, strengthen the health system to detect and treat cases, and mitigate some of the social consequences of the pandemic.
The project has three components. The first component Emergency COVID-19 response envisages provision of immediate support to the Republic of Azerbaijan to prevent the spread and facilitate the management of COVID-19 by financing, top-up payments for health workers providing exceptional services for COVID-19 patients during the COVID-19 surges.
It also envisages medical supplies, devices and equipment for the evaluation, treatment and monitoring of COVID-19 patients. This may include limited renovations, if needed, to operationalize additional ICU beds, for five hospitals, and support to laboratories; infection prevention and control protocols for healthcare workers in hospital settings; risk communications to support continued social distancing and public health measures to limit the spread of the epidemic.
This project will support health systems strengthening, recognizing the impact of COVID-19 on current and future needs, given Azerbaijan’s existing disease profile, by financing guidelines and protocols for health care workers to support the identification and treatment COVID19, and related comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease. Equipment and supplies in primary health care facilities for data reporting, analysis, and dissemination for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 risk factors is also envisaged. The project includes strengthening e-health capabilities in primary health care facilities will better enable patients with NCDs to benefit from integrated care between primary and specialist facilities, both during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in the future.
Component 2 includes temporary income support for vulnerable families/individuals because of the pandemic. The Project will use the existing online application system and follow the material and household conditions verification process through Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population and local branches of the State Social Protection Fund. The project will finance benefits for newly eligible 47,000 households for three months with an 225 manats (approximately $132) monthly allowance.
This component will finance one-time cash payment of 190 manats (approximately $111) for 170,000 citizens who have become unemployed and are registered as unemployed with the State Employment Service. The government of Azerbaijan allocated a monthly allowance of 190 manats to 600,000 unemployed citizens from April to June 2020. The assistance covered formal and informal workers who lost their job because of the economic downturn resulting from the measures adopted to contain the outbreak. This subcomponent will finance the payment for 170,000 unemployed people among 600,000 unemployed citizens who received the assistance.
The third component will support the administrative and human resources needed to implement the Project and monitor and evaluate progress in the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population and SAMHI (State Agency for Mandatory Health Insurance).
“The approach to project implementation will be to integrate key functions into existing institutions and the project will finance incremental staff costs for project implementation (project implementation – procurement, financial management (FM), environmental and social safeguards, outreach activities, communication campaigns, monitoring and evaluation, reporting, and stakeholder engagement), coordination and administration. This component will also finance performance audits focusing on key project activities, which will be carried out by an external auditor,” the bank said in the message.
The project’s implementation is designed for two years. Most activities, including the social protection measures, will be financed and completed in the first six to nine months of project implementation. Some of the health measures, particularly those pertaining to the strengthening of the health system to respond to future pandemics, may take longer to implement. Also, future waves of COVID-19 are likely to occur as new variants emerge, the bank noted.