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ADB to repurpose $50mn funds for Pakistan against coronavirus

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has repurposed $50 million from Pakistan’s National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) to support Pakistan’s measures against the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The funds, which form part of ADB’s series of support for Pakistan’s fight against COVID-19, will help to procure medical equipment and supplies to strengthen hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, isolation units, and other medical facilities in the country.

The ADB said in a statement, that the funds include the reallocation of $30 million of previously approved but unutilized resources from ADB to NDRMF. Following a request for emergency support from the Government of Pakistan, ADB swiftly processed a change in scope in its NDRMF project, enabling the repurposing and immediate use of these resources in the fight against COVID-19.

In addition, NDRMF has provided $20 million using capital gains from its endowment fund financed by ADB to support the government’s COVID-19 response. These funds complement the financing approved on 2 April by the World Bank under its Pandemic Response Effectiveness Project.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 is a profound challenge for Pakistan and we are committed to providing flexible and timely support to help manage this crisis,” said ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang. “This funding will immediately support Pakistan’s efforts to fight the pandemic and strengthen health care services for the poorest and most vulnerable groups—including the elderly, women, and children.”

Aside from the $50 million, ADB is mobilizing existing technical assistance—Capacity Building of Disaster Risk Management Institutions—to provide training for at least 5,000 doctors, nurses, and technical staff working on the front lines in intensive care facilities. The grant will also provide additional technical capacity to the government for planning and coordinating its COVID-19 response.

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