ADB, Pakistan sign $2m deal to combat pandemic

LAHORE: Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday signed a $2 million grant agreement to strengthen Pakistan’s efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

Economic Affairs Division Secretary Noor Ahmed and ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang signed the agreement.

The grant, financed from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, would help provide life-saving medical supplies, diagnostic and laboratory facilities and other critical equipment for communities affected by the pandemic.

Yang and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Pakistan representative Aida Girma also signed the administrative agreement that would enable UNICEF to procure the supplies and equipment using the grant.

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“The grant to be administered through UNICEF will help strengthen Pakistan’s response to the Covid-19 challenge. Pakistan needs to maintain its strong efforts to contain the pandemic through robust prevention and control measures as well as by ensuring the provision of essential medical and emergency healthcare facilities, considering the recent increase in the infection rates,” the ADB country director for Pakistan was quoted as saying in a statement released following the signing of the agreement.

The grant supplements an initial $500,000 provided by ADB through UNICEF to support Pakistan’s procurement of emergency supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The equipment had been delivered to doctors, nurses, and other medical staff in major health facilities prioritised by the government.

“We have also endeavoured to ensure the continuation of essential services including immunisation and health, nutrition, education, child protection and water, sanitation and hygiene. We appreciate the ADB’s continued and generous financial support to UNICEF’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic”, UNICEF Pakistan representative Girma added.

Earlier in April, ADB had reallocated $30 million from the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) to support Pakistan’s pandemic response.

In May, ADB approved a $300 million emergency assistance loan to solidify the country’s public health response to the pandemic and help reboot economic activities.

Then in June, the bank approved a $500 million budget support loan to help deliver social protection programmes to the poor and vulnerable, expand health sector capabilities, and deliver a pro-poor fiscal stimulus to boost growth and create jobs.

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