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ADB approves $100 million loan to strength Uzbekistan’s resilience to health emergencies

August 03
19:55 2020

Tashkent [Uzbekistan], August 3 –– The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Monday it has approved a 100 million dollar loan to strengthen Uzbekistan’s resilience to public health emergencies, including the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, by steadily improving testing, diagnosis and the management of Covid-19 cases over the next two years.

The Covid-19 Emergency Response Project will support increased testing capacity for Covid-19 and related illnesses at 38 laboratories nationwide. The project will refurbish the laboratories to ensure safe working conditions and provide them with personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.

Health workers, more than 80 per cent of whom are women, and facility staff who are at high risk of infection will be given priority access to diagnostic services, ADB said in a statement.

The project will establish a digital national surveillance and response system for Covid-19 that will provide age- and sex-disaggregated data, and train health care workers to use it. This will help improve Uzbekistan’s capacity to identify infected people and improve contact tracing, screening, testing, isolation and case referral nationwide.

The project will help develop and publish medical protocols and train primary health care workers and institutional caretakers to identify potential Covid-19 cases and provide appropriate advice. Screening and processes related to the collection and transportation of respiratory samples to laboratories will be strengthened.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is exceptional in size and nature with evolving epidemiological and treatment scenarios,” said ADB Vice-President Shixin Chen.

“By improving the quality, safety standards, protocols and services of the country’s health system, this project will help to protect the people of Uzbekistan from Covid-19 and guard against future health threats.”

This is part of ADB’s comprehensive package of support to the country which also includes a 500 million dollar loan to help finance the government’s anti-crisis measures and ongoing technical assistance, said Chen.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is working to provide co-financing of 100 million dollars for the project while the government of Uzbekistan will provide a further 57 million dollars.

“By improving testing and tracing, and gradually upgrading laboratories and hospitals nationwide over the next two years, this project represents an essential investment in Uzbekistan’s health systems that will benefit ordinary citizens, including women, who are disproportionately affected by Covid-19,” said ADB Health Specialist Hiddo Huitzing.

Project implementation will begin immediately and is scheduled to be completed by July 2022. Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Health and the Agency for Sanitary and Epidemiological Wellbeing will be the executing and implementing agencies respectively.

On April 13, ADB tripled to 20 billion dollars its initial package of support to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries as they respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. ADB also approved measures to streamline its operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance.

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