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International Financial Institutions Lending To Pakistan To Help Build Healthcare Capacity For Infectious Diseases

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As Pakistan gears up to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is offering $350 million to help improve the country’s public healthcare. This comes in the context of a poor outlook for the country’s healthcare system in dealing with mass outbreaks of contagious disease.

Combined with the ADB’s assistance, World Bank lending to Pakistan to help with the Covid-19 pandemic means that the country is able to borrow some $588 million (Rs93 billion) for this healthcare challenge. This assistance is meant to help plug gaps in healthcare capacity which the country ought to have been able to address based on its own resources.

The lenders cite a 2017 Joint External Evaluation of International Health Regulation (IHR) which found that Pakistan lagged behind in 19 areas that are relevant to any response to mass contagion. The evaluation had found that healthcare workers are not sufficiently trained to manage outbreaks of disease such as Covid-19 – nor any system in place to begin training them, whether in the public or private sector.

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