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ADB loans Philippines another $125 million for pandemic response

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved another $125-million (around P6.1 billion) loan for the Philippines' coronavirus pandemic response.

The ADB on Tuesday, August 25, said that the Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 Project will upgrade the medical equipment of hospitals and improve training of health personnel.

The project will provide: 

  • Electrocardiography machines and defibrillators to 17 major hospitals and upgrade their laboratories and isolation facilities
  • Ventilators to 70 Department of Health hospitals and 20 island local government hospitals
  • Computed tomography or CT scan machines to 33 hospitals nationwide 
  • Test kits, chemicals, and reagents to at least 10 government molecular laboratories to increase their COVID-19 testing capacity
  • Personal protective equipment to frontline health workers and laboratory technicians

The project will also fund training of staff and laboratory technicians on how to operate and maintain the equipment. 

In addition, health workers will learn how to provide psychosocial support to patients and families, including pregnant women and other vulnerable groups affected by COVID-19.

"This project will help improve the preparedness and resilience of the country's health systems at the national and local levels in handling current and future public health threats. It will also contribute to the Philippines' efforts toward implementing universal health coverage," said ADB vice president Ahmed Saeed.

The ADB is currently the biggest lender to the Philippines’ pandemic response. The latest agreement brings total loans from the multilateral lender to over $3 billion, which includes support for infrastructure and agriculture projects. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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