The bank said the emergency funding was to aid Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone which were hardest hit by the Ebola virus and the World Health Organisation to contain the spread of the outbreak.
According to Jim Yong Kim, the bank’s president, the financing commitment will also help the West African countries cope with the economic impact felt as a result of the epidemic and improve public health systems.
(READ MORE: Containing the Ebola virus)
“I am very worried that many more lives are at risk unless we can stop this Ebola epidemic in its tracks. 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,” Kim said.
The World Bank president called out on the international community to act fast to contain the Ebola outbreak.
Makhtar Diop, the bank’s Vice President for Africa, said the latest emergency response will also include social safety net measures to help families and communities with financial loss as a result of the outbreak.
“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.
The virus which spreads by contact with infected blood and bodily fluids mortality rate is at around 60 per cent. However, in the past some outbreaks have had a 90 per cent mortality rate. The deadly virus first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan.
From infection to onset of symptoms, it takes two to 21 days. Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, chills, diarrhoea, queasiness, sore throat, backache, and joint pains. Advanced symptoms include hemorrhage from body openings and swelling of organs including body rashes.
About 1,440 people have been infected with the virus since it broke out in Guinea in December 2013.
(READ MORE: Lagos continues to fight Ebola)
Two aid workers from the United States have also been infected with the virus. Dr. Kent Brantly and health worker Nancy Writebol, contracted the virus in Liberia. Brantly arrived in the US on 2 August and is undergoing treatment. Writebol is expected to arrive in the US later.
Nigeria’s health minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Monday confirmed that a medical doctor who had treated Patrick Sawyer- the country’s first Ebola case, has been infected with the deadly Ebola virus.