The Avian and Human Influenza Facility, a multidonor financing mechanism administered by the World Bank, awarded its first grant in the amount of US$2 million to the Lao PDR, to support its national Avian and Human Influenza Control and Preparedness Project.
The Facility, with a total grant fund of $66 million to be complemented with $500 million from the World Bank through IDA loans, was set up earlier this year to help the poorest developing countries prepare and implemented integrated country action plans designed to reduce the social and economic impact of avian influenza and minimize possible outbreak of a human flu pandemic. The grants are intended to support integrated interventions in the animal and human health aspects.
Mohamad Al-Arief, of the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific Region External Affairs Office, told VOA that "Laos happens to be well-prepared. Their national program of integrating the human health aspect and the animal health aspect has been readied and vouched by the FAO and other institutions supporting it. Therefore, we felt that the resources of this Facility could be a good flow to the government of Laos to implement its national program," adding that this grant is a testament of the Laotian government that has been working hard in term of getting their national plan ready in time. That's why it is worthy of getting this grant from the Facility and IDA resources.
Mr. Al-Arief said in addition to the $2 miilion grant from the Avian and Human Influenza Facility, the World Bank has approved about $4 million in IDA grants to Laos, which will also receive financing from other donors. In all the Lao PDR will be getting about $14 million to support its national program to combat Avian or bird flu.
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