The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Pakistan today signed a $2 million grant agreement to strengthen Pakistan’s efforts to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Secretary of the Economic Affairs Division, Noor Ahmed and ADB Country Director for Pakistan, Xiaohong Yang signed the agreement. The grant is being financed from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, and will help provide life-saving medical supplies, diagnostic and laboratory facilities, and other critical equipment for communities affected by the pandemic.

Ms. Yang and Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Pakistan Aida Girma signed the administrative agreement, which will 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” said ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang.

“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 grant proceeds, made available from ADB’s Asia Pacific Disaster Respond Fund, will be used to build resilience and capacity of front-line health workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by providing (i) personal protective and waste management (biosafety) equipment to front-line health workers; (ii) testing kits and diagnostic reagents; (iii) air purifying respirators; (iv) laboratory and general medical supplies. 

The Country Director, ADB reaffirmed the Bank’ssupport for the government’s development vision and people-centric growth policies, especially in light of growing uncertainties in a post COVID-19 scenario. The Country Director, ADB also reiterated ADB’s strong commitment to further strengthening and expanding its long-standing partnership with Pakistan.

The Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs, appreciated ADB for a remarkable role in supporting the Government of Pakistan’s targeted efforts towards mitigating the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 by providing an Emergency Assistance Loan of USD 300 million in the first phase, and a grant of USD 2 million for building the capacity and resilience of the Health Sector in the second phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamza Habib is a senior journalist and former editor of who has previously worked for leading newspapers and TV networks of the country. He mainly writes on the economy and political issues.


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