MANILA: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday strengthened its partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognising that increased collaboration is helping to expand critical health care across Asia and the Pacific and contain the spread and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
During a conference call with WHO Regional Directors Dr Takeshi Kasai and Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa said that the partnership based on a memorandum of understanding signed in 2018 had helped to address the region’s health security risks and strengthen health systems, which have been stretched due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I very much appreciate the close collaboration with the WHO regarding Covid-19. I found that the regular exchange of views and the latest information on the evolution of the pandemic provided by WHO have been invaluable to ADB’s operations,” The ADB president said.
“ADB has incorporated inputs and advice from the WHO to ensure its support is fully responsive to the needs of its developing members. As countries implement these projects and ADB continues to expand technical and financing assistance, ADB looks forward to continued collaboration to help guide its response to, and the region’s recovery from Covid-19.”
On April 13, ADB announced a comprehensive support package of $20 billion to help developing members address the impacts of Covid-19. ADB and the WHO are finalising an administrative arrangement to govern financial, reporting, and implementation mechanisms related to their joint response to Covid-19, as well as projects to support recovery from the crisis.
The first administrative arrangement between ADB and the WHO will cover South Asia before expanding to Central Asia, East Asia, the Pacific, and Southeast Asia.
ADB is also working with the WHO and the Japanese Ministry of Finance to convene a virtual Joint Finance and Health Ministers Meeting on Covid-19 and Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific during the second stage of ADB’s annual meeting in September.