Asian Development Bank fast tracks $3 Million grant to help the Philippines fight COVID-19

Manila, Philippines — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $3 million grant to support the Philippine government’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including the purchase of emergency medical supplies and the delivery of effective health care services.

The assistance, incorporating ADB’s most flexible, expeditious procurement approaches, allows the government to purchase diagnostic reagents and equipment, materials for makeshift hospitals, and personal protection supplies for health workers managing severe COVID-19 cases, among others.

“ADB’s assistance will help the Philippines, our host country, address the immediate financial and logistical constraints on the provision of emergency medical services during this extraordinary public health emergency,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “The assistance will allow the government to purchase key medical supplies and equipment, deliver health services, and minimize the social and economic disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines. This is the first step in what will be a broader program of working with the government to respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 to health and economic activity.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared a state of public health emergency on 8 March and upgraded the alert to its highest level on 12 March based on evidence of community transmission.

As of 14 March, the Philippines’ Department of Health reported 98 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country, including 8 deaths, at least four of them believed to be caused by local transmission.

ADB will manage the grant, which will be financed by the Asia-Pacific Disaster Response Fund, and work closely with the Department of Health, the World Health Organization, and other United Nations technical agencies to ensure timely delivery of the medical supplies.

The new assistance builds on ADB’s previous response to COVID-19, including $200 million made available through ADB’s Supply Chain Finance Program for companies manufacturing and distributing medicines and other items needed to combat the pandemic.

ADB’s response to date also includes $2 million announced on 7 February to enhance detection, prevention, and response in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Greater Mekong Subregion; another $2 million announced on 26 February to support response in all its developing members; and a CNY130 million ($18.6 million) private sector loan, signed on 25 February, to Wuhan, PRC-based pharmaceutical distributor Jointown Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd. to support the continued supply of essential medicines and personal protective equipment.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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