The Asian Development Bank (ADB) to extend its partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), acknowledging that improved collaboration is promoting to expand critical health care across Asia and the Pacific and contain the spread and impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Through a conference call with WHO Regional Directors Dr. Takeshi Kasai and Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa stated the partnership based on a memorandum of understanding confirmed in 2018 had helped to address the region’s health security risks and strengthen health systems, which have been stretched since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I very much appreciate the close collaboration with the WHO regarding COVID-19. I found that the regular exchange of views and the latest information on the evolution of the pandemic provided by WHO has been invaluable to ADB’s operations,” stated Mr. Asakawa. “ADB has incorporated inputs and advice from the WHO to ensure our support is fully responsive to the needs of our developing members. As countries implement these projects and ADB continues to expand technical and financing assistance, we look forward to continued collaboration to help guide our response to, and the region’s recovery from, COVID-19.”
ADB declared on 13 April a comprehensive assistance package of $20 billion to support developing members address the impacts of COVID-19. ADB and WHO are finalizing an administrative arrangement (AA) to govern financial, reporting, and implementation mechanisms related to their joint response to COVID-19, as well as projects to support reconstruction from the crisis. The first AA between ADB and the WHO will cover South Asia before expanding to Central Asia, East Asia, the Pacific, and Southeast Asia.
ADB is also working with the WHO and the Japanese Ministry of Finance to convene a virtual Joint Finance and Health Ministers Meeting on COVID-19 and Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific during the second stage of ADB’s Annual Meeting in September.
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