Approves USD 2M grant in the latest assistance

Staff Reporter

To help strengthen the government’s effort in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a grant of USD 2 million (M) from its Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund (APDRF).

Financed by the Government of Japan, the grant will help alleviate the immediate financial, logistical, and other challenges that the government is facing.

According to a press release from ADB, the grant will be used for the procurement of test kits and reagents, personal protective equipment (PPEs), medical goods and supplies and laboratory equipment, among others.

The grant will also be used to fund transport and supply chain logistical expenses.

ADB’s country director of Bhutan resident mission, Kanokpan Lao-Araya, said, “ADB is fully committed to supporting Bhutan, especially at this challenging time. The grant will support the government in augmenting their response capacity, intensify testing and surveillance, and strengthen financial and human resources to ensure effective and timely life-saving efforts.”

She said that the Covid-19 pandemic was a serious public health issue. “ADB will work closely with the government and other development partners to help ensure a coordinated and effective response.”

The current grant supplements ADB’s earlier USD 1.17M emergency assistance for the procurement of medical supplies and PPEs. ADB has also approved USD 20M as a support loan to help the government implement the economic contingency plan.

Also under the ongoing ADB health sector development programme, USD 400,000 worth of medical supply packages are being procured to strengthen the country’s capacity for Covid-19 response.

According to the press release, ADB’s Covid-19 active response and expenditure support (CARES) programme is funded through the Covid-19 pandemic response option (CPRO) under ADB’s countercyclical support facility.

CPRO was established as part of ADB’s USD 20 billion expanded assistance for developing member countries’ pandemic response, which was announced on April 13.