KABUL, Afghanistan – The Afghan government has signed at least three pacts worth $23.95 million financed by Asian Development Bank, in a bid to build treatment facilities and medical supplies in the country to fight against the ongoing battle with COVID-19 pandemic, according to ADB press release on Wednesday.
The support is part of ADB’s Emergency Assistance for COVID-19 Pandemic Response for Afghanistan.
The agreements were signed by the Acting Minister of Public Health Ahmad Jawad Osmani and representatives of the Housing Construction Corporation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The agreements signed today will help construct hospitals in the high-priority provinces and address the immediate need for medicines and medical equipment to treat the affected population and improve health services across the country,” said ADB Country Director for Afghanistan Narendra Singru as stated on the press release. “The support is part of an integrated approach to improving patient treatment and management to support the government’s response to COVID-19.”
The project will begin with construction of 10 hospitals “equipped with isolation wards and intensive care units,” fully furnished with 750 beds, according to the statement. The facilities are expected to fit an international standard, which includes solar power, water, sanitation and hygiene corners; as well as standard ventilation and heating systems. It will also be “gender and culture sensitive, with dedicated wards for female patients including pregnant women.”
“Under the ADB-funded emergency assistance grant, UNICEF and WHO will provide medicines and medical equipment, including oxygen concentrators and regulators ECG machines and other medical and laboratory equipment, to hospitals and medical facilities across Afghanistan, including the new facilities being constructed under the grant,” said ADB Deputy Country Director for Afghanistan Artur Andrysiak.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who was present at the signing ceremony, said the treatment facilities will be accomplish within upcoming six months, adding “we should not neglect the second wave of the coronavirus and shall move forward upon learned lessons of the past,” according to a tweet by the Presidential Palace.
In July 2020, ADB handed over the first consignment of personal protective equipment to the Ministry of Public Health to help protect frontline health workers who are at high risk of being infected with COVID-19 while providing care, the statement read.