Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $300,000 emergency grant to support Bangladesh’s fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The grant was approved on Friday (Mar 27).
The grant will support procurement of health safety materials including personal protective gears, N95 masks, safety goggles, aprons, thermometers, and biohazard bags.
The list has been prioritized by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of Bangladesh.
The materials will help the government to strengthen its efforts to contain the spread of the virus in the country.
The grant assistance is sourced from the ADB Regional Technical Assistance titled “Regional Support to Address the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Potential Outbreaks of Other Communicable Diseases”.
ADB Country Director Manmohan Parkash said ADB is fully committed to supporting Bangladesh in the fight to control Covid-19, and this is only the first of the planned support that ADB is preparing to provide the Bangladesh government to deal with this difficult situation.
“This assistance will invigorate Bangladesh’s ability to strengthen prevention, improve health professionals’ protection from the disease, test people to detect infection, manage severe cases, and reduce the risk of the deadly virus’ mass transmission,” said Parkash.
“We are working tirelessly to put together further assistance in the health and financial sectors,” Parkash added.
In the face of a threat of a coronavirus outbreak, the Bangladesh government has taken various actions and adopted measures in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations.
On March 18, ADB announced a $6.5 billion initial package to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries as they respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
ADB’s previous responses to Covid-19 include $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 February 7, to enhance detection, prevention, and response in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Greater Mekong Subregion; another $2 million announced on February 26, to support response in all its developing members; and a CNY130 million ($18.6 million) private sector loan, signed on February 25, to Wuhan, PRC-based pharmaceutical distributor Jointown Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd to support the continued supply of essential medicines and personal protective equipment.
Another grant of $600,000 was provided to Sri Lanka on March 13.
ADB has a strong track record of responding rapidly to provide targeted support to Bangladesh in times of emergencies, including natural disasters such as floods and cyclones, and other disasters like influx of people in Cox’s Bazar camps from across the Myanmar border.