HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Philippines

ADB earmarks over $700m for health projects in 2019

Compared to $516m last year.

The Asian Development Bank expects commitments of more than $700m for health projects in 2019, a marked increase from the $516m in loan and grant commitments which it granted in 2018.

ADB expects to scale up its investments in health projects and health components of multi-sectoral projects that would enable Asia and the Pacific to achieve and maintain universal health coverage.

These investments may be informed and reinforced by WHO technical advice and support, coordinated under the ADB–WHO Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in September 2018.

“ADB’s new long-term strategic framework Strategy 2030 and its aspirations for Asia and the Pacific are fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the global call for UHC,” ADB President Takehiko Nakao said after a meeting with WHO representatives.

This year, the ADB will support projects including strengthening local health systems in Vietnam; establishing digital health systems in Tonga; piloting elderly care interventions in the People’s Republic of China; and supporting health financing policy reforms in Armenia.

“The collaboration between ADB and WHO could work to improve the health and well-being of people, particularly through the identified areas of cooperation such as supporting universal health coverage, including affordability and accessibility of medical products, enhancing human resources for health, improving primary health care infrastructure, and strengthening disaster preparedness and response,” said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South Asia.

In 2018, ADB loan and grant commitments in the health sector totaled $516m for 13 projects, the highest numbers for health since 2010.

The projects included support for enhancing provincial-level health services in Papua New Guinea, integration of maternal and child health services in Tajikistan, strengthening health systems in Bhutan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka and investments in private hospitals that expand access to low-cost quality maternity care in Indonesia. 

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