PH gets $125-M loan from ADB to boost COVID-19 testing capacity

Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved the Philippines’ $125-million loan to aid the government in boosting the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity and control the spread of the pandemic.

ADB said the loan would fund the Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit (HEAL) COVID-19 Project that would help DOH in improving health services nationwide through training and medical equipment upgrading.

“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,” ADB vice-president Ahmed Saeed said.

The government is targeting to more than double the daily COVID-19 testing capacity to 75,000 by the end of the year, compared with nearly 31,000 as of 15.

According to ADB, the HEAL COVID-19 project would fund the following:

  • Purchase of medical equipment, including electrocardiography machines and defibrillators, to 17 major hospitals across the country and upgrade their laboratories and isolation facilities;
  • Purchase of ventilators to 70 DOH hospitals and 20 island local government hospitals;
  • Installation of computed tomography (CT) scan machines in 33 hospitals nationwide to improve clinical management of COVID-19 cases;
  • Test kits, chemicals, and reagents to at least 10 government molecular laboratories to increase their COVID-19 testing capacity; and
  • Personal protective equipment to frontline health workers and laboratory technicians.

Also read: Government debt at P9.05T by end-June amid COVID-19 crisis

PH gets $125-M loan from ADB to boost COVID-19 testing capacity

The loan would also cover the training of staff and laboratory technicians on how to operate and maintain the equipment, ADB added.

“Doctors and in obstetrics, pediatric, and emergency departments will how to reduce infection and control virus transmission. Health workers will also learn how to provide psycho-social support to patients and families, including pregnant women and other vulnerable groups affected by COVID-19,” the lender said.

In June, the Philippines also acquired a $450 million (about P22.5 billion) loan from Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which would provide continuous cash aids for needy families in the county.