The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s (AIIB) Board of Directors has approved a $100-million loan to Uzbekistan to strengthen the country’s public health emergency response and preparedness to address the COVID-19 pandemic and enhance its resilience to future public health disasters.
Co-financed with the Asian Development Bank, the project aims to improve Uzbekistan’s capacity for surveillance, diagnostic testing and treatment for COVID-19 and future disease outbreaks. It is expected to benefit the population at large, in particular, those who are infected and at risk, including the elderly, people with chronic conditions and medical personnel, the bank said in a statement.
“Addressing emergency healthcare needs to combat COVID-19 and prevent its spread is the immediate priority. The financing will support Uzbekistan’s response to the current pandemic and capacity building to effectively manage future outbreaks”, said AIIB Director-General, Investment Operations, Supee Teravaninthorn. “To alleviate the negative consequences of the global challenge, AIIB continues to work closely with partner international financial institutions to assist our member countries in improving their healthcare systems, and contribute to the recovery of their economies as quickly as possible.”
The project comprises three closely interlinked components to support Uzbekistan’s healthcare sector. These are: strengthening the national laboratory system and enhancing the testing capacity of 38 healthcare facilities; establishing a national surveillance system that will introduce a digital platform to identify potential COVID-19 cases and improve monitoring; and enhancing clinical care for patients through the upgrading of 16 COVID-19 treatment centers while avoiding disruption of essential health services.
The project is funded by the AIIB Crisis Recovery Facility (CRF), which provides up to $13 billion of financing to both public and private-sector entities facing serious adverse impacts as a result of the pandemic. As of August 13, 2020, AIIB’s Board of Directors has approved a total of 19 projects amounting to over $6.16 billion to help 15 members navigate the challenges of these highly uncertain times.