Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed on Tuesday (Nov 3) a $2 million grant agreement to strengthen the country’s efforts to combat the coronavirus 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.
“ADB continues to work closely with the Government of Pakistan and development partners to assist Pakistan in sustaining the gains made in combating the pandemic,” the ADB country director for Pakistan was quoted as saying in a statement released following the signing of the agreement.
“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 statement further read.
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.
“Since the outbreak of the pandemic, UNICEF has been at the forefront supporting the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in the country, said UNICEF Pakistan representative Aida Girma.
“More specifically, UNICEF has supported the national response in risk communication and community engagement by ensuring timely and accurate information to families and communities and promoting positive behaviour to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, and procured life-saving medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE),” she further said.
“We have also endeavoured to ensure continuation of essential services including immunization and health, nutrition, education, child protection and water, sanitation and hygiene. We appreciate the Asian Development Bank’s continued and generous financial support to UNICEF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic”, Girma added.