ISLAMABAD: The Asian Develop­ment Bank (ADB) has approved a $100 million loan to improve the quality of secondary health care in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the lender said in a statement on Thursday.

The programme will improve the delivery of health services at secondary hospitals by modernising infrastructure and equipment, ensuring implementation of clinical protocols, standards and guidelines and improving human resources planning and medicine supply chain management, the ADB said.

“While the coronavirus placed an enormous strain on essential health services in [KP] and across the country, Pakistan now faces unprecedented flooding exacerbating the risk of waterborne diseases,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov.

The programme will contribute towards improving the quality of secondary hospital services in KP and also help people injured by the floods and support efforts to control the spread of infectious diseases, Mr Zhukov added.

Outlining the challenges faced by the KP’s health sector, the statement added that outdated secondary health care facilities, equipment and inadequate quality assurance standards and processes plague the system.

“ADB’s assistance will help sustain health reforms started by the provincial government and strengthen the resilience of the health systems to future pandemics,” said ADB Senior Health Specialist for Central and West Asia Hiddo Huitzing. “It will benefit an estimated 38 million people, including women in need of maternal health care services, and will also create jobs in the health sector.”

Besides, in response to the floods, the ADB is also preparing a significant response package to support people, livelihoods and infrastructure.

It has already approved a $3m grant to fund immediate purchase of relief goods such as food supplies and tents. A separate package is also in the works to help Pakistan brace the impacts of external shocks, the statement added.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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