Asian Development Bank boosts Philippines COVID-19 war chest with $125 million loan

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2020 10:35 AM

Tents are set-up to accommodate probable or suspected COVID-19 patients outside the Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center in Tondo, Manila on August 5, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Asian Development Bank said Tuesday it approved another $125 million (P6 billion) loan to boost the Philippines' capacity to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. 

The funds will help the "Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit" (HEAL) program under the Department of Health, which aims to improve health services nationwide, upgrade equipment and related trainings, the ADB said in a statement.

It will also augment the capacity to conduct COVID-19 tests, surveillance, infection prevention and control and provide critical care equipment to improve treatment outcomes, the ADB said. 

“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,” said ADB Vice-President Ahmed Saeed.

The Philippine government is targeting to improve its daily testing capacity to 75,000 by the end of the year, the ADB said.

Under the project, some electrocardiography machines and defibrillators will be provided to 17 major hospitals and ventilators to 70 DOH hospitals and 20 island hospitals, among others, the ADB said.

The lender has provided several loan packages to support the Philippines' coronavirus fight.