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

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

India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a $170 million policy-based loan aimed at bolstering the country’s readiness and response to future pandemics. The loan 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, and Mio Oka, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.

Enhancing Preparedness and Response Capacity

Juhi Mukherjee highlighted that the Indian government has implemented several strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic to enhance its preparedness and response capabilities. The ADB programme will further support these efforts by:

  • Strengthening disease surveillance
  • Ensuring the quality and sufficiency of health professionals
  • Promoting climate-resilient public health infrastructure and service delivery

ADB’s Commitment to Health System Transformation

Mio Oka emphasized that the programme builds on ADB’s partnership with the Indian government to enhance the health system through transformative solutions. The policy-based loan aims to address gaps in policy, legislative, and institutional governance, contributing to India’s goal of providing universal access to quality and affordable healthcare services for improved pandemic preparedness and response.

Alignment with National Initiatives

The programme will align with major government plans and initiatives, including:

  • National Health Policy 2017
  • Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM)
  • National One Health Mission
  • Efforts to strengthen human resources for health (HRH)

Targeted Reforms for Health Systems

Key reforms under the programme include:

  • Enhanced disease surveillance systems with laboratory networks for infectious disease surveillance
  • Robust data systems to monitor and coordinate national health programmes for vulnerable groups
  • Improved governance of India’s One Health approach and multisector response to emerging infectious diseases

Strengthening Human Resources and Infrastructure

ADB will support policy reforms to ensure an adequate and competent workforce, including legislation to regulate and maintain standards for:

  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Allied workers
  • 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 in establishing green and climate-resilient healthcare facilities and support innovative solutions for service delivery.

By implementing these comprehensive measures, India aims to fortify its healthcare system, ensuring better preparedness and response to future pandemics.

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