GoI borrows $500 million from AIIB

The Government of India has taken a $500 million loan from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to support its emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to strengthen the preparedness of the country’s public health systems.

This is part of a $1.5 billion project being co-financed by the World Bank, which approved a $1 billion loan for this purpose at the beginning of April.

In terms of immediate needs to slow and limit the spread of the pandemic, the project will help scale up procurement of personal protective equipment, oxygen delivery systems and medicines, according to an official statement.

Building a resilient health system that can effectively treat COVID-19 patients and prevent its spread is the immediate priority, but the funding will also enhance India’s capacity to effectively manage future disease outbreaks, said AIIB vice-president D.J. Pandian. It will help strengthen India’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Program, revamp infectious disease hospitals, district, civil, general and medical college hospitals, and build a network of high containment Biosafety Level 3 laboratories.

With 75% of new infectious diseases beginning with human-to-animal contact, the project will also develop capacity and systems to detect existing and emerging zoonoses, support biomedical research on COVID-19 by the Indian Council of Medical Research and other institutions, and upgrade viral research and diagnostic laboratories for testing and research, said the statement.

The project will also support behaviour change campaigns on hygiene practices, wearing masks, social distancing, and mental health and psychological services for vulnerable communities.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 5:01:20 AM |

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