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India and ADB sign $170 million loan to enhance pandemic preparedness and response

July 3, 2024 4:49 PM IST

India and ADB sign $170 million loan

India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $170 million policy-based loan to enhance India’s preparedness and response capacity for future pandemics. The agreement, part of the ‘Strengthened and Measurable Actions for Resilient and Transformative Health Systems Programme was signed by Juhi Mukherjee, Joint Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Indian government, and Mio Oka, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.

Mukherjee noted that the government had adopted several practices during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve its preparedness and response capabilities. She added that the ADB programme would support ongoing efforts to strengthen disease surveillance, ensure the quality and sufficiency of health professionals, and promote climate-resilient public health infrastructure and service delivery.

Oka highlighted that the programme builds on ADB’s partnership with the Indian government to enhance the health system and adopt transformative solutions. Through this policy-based loan, ADB aims to help the government address gaps in policy, legislative, and institutional governance, contributing to India’s goal of providing universal access to quality and affordable health care services to improve pandemic preparedness and response.

The programme will align with major government plans and initiatives, including the National Health Policy 2017, Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM), the National One Health Mission, and efforts to strengthen human resources for health (HRH). Targeted reforms include improved disease surveillance and multisectoral response, strengthened human resources for health, and expanded climate-resilient public health infrastructure and innovative service delivery.

The programme aims to enhance disease surveillance systems by establishing laboratory networks for infectious disease surveillance at various levels and building robust data systems to monitor and coordinate national health programmes for vulnerable groups. It will also improve the governance of India’s One Health approach and its multisector response to emerging infectious diseases.

ADB will support policy reforms to ensure adequate and competent health professionals and workers, including legislation to regulate and maintain standards of education, services, and professional conduct for nurses, midwives, allied workers, and doctors. The programme will manage integrated public health laboratories in five states and district critical care hospital blocks to improve services for infectious diseases and critical illnesses. It will also assist the establishment of green and climate-resilient healthcare facilities and support innovative solutions for service delivery.

By Manish Poswal

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