IMPACT

World Bank Funding To Fight Ebola Hits $500 Million

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, right, speaks at a news conference during the International Monetary Fund (I
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, right, speaks at a news conference during the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. The global response to the Ebola crisis is 'way behind the curve,' Kim said today, as leaders of the three affected African nations appealed for financing and faster assistance. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

GENEVA, Oct 30 (Reuters) - The World Bank pledged $100 million on Thursday to help recruit more foreign health workers in the fight against Ebola, taking its funding for the three worst-hit countries to more than half a billion dollars over the past three months.

The biggest recorded outbreak of the deadly virus has killed almost 5,000 people, according to the World Health Organization, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Some aid groups have criticized the scale of the initial international response.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said the three states were still struggling to get enough health staff to areas with the highest infection rates.

"We must urgently find ways to break any barriers to the deployment of more health workers. It is our hope that this $100 million can help be a catalyst for a rapid surge of health workers to the communities in dire need," Kim said in a statement.

The latest tranche will go towards setting up a coordination hub to recruit, train and deploy qualified foreign health workers and support the three countries' efforts to isolate Ebola patients and bury the dead safely, the bank said. (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Andrew Heavens)