MANILA, Philippines – More than 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been procured by the Philippine government through a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Department of Health (DOH) said.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the DOH said that the ADB has recognized its accomplishment on the utilization of its loan under the latter’s financing project called Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit (HEAL) COVID-19 project.
The DOH said it received a rating of excellent progress in the recently concluded HEAL 1 Review Mission and HEAL 2 Inception Mission after recording over 70 percent obligation rate of its USD 825 million total loan budget intended for COVID-19 vaccine procurement and its ancillaries, equipment, infrastructure, and training.
The agency quoted in its statement Sakiko Tanaka, ADB Principal Social Sector Specialist, who said: “Within the implementation of the ADB Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 (HEAL) project, approximately 21.58 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been financed through ADB and delivered to the Philippines, and of this, 6.3 million doses have been given to priority populations as of August 2021.”
Tanaka also mentioned other achievements of the project including the procurement and delivery of 70 patient transport vehicles for contact tracing, 90 mechanical ventilators, and 85 portable x-ray machines to aid patient recovery in target Local Government Units (LGUs) and DOH-owned hospitals.
“Despite the challenges, civil works, and procurement of other medical supplies and laboratory equipment are moving forward and will be completed as planned,” she added.
The DOH said the HEAL project aims to assist the Philippines in scaling up its COVID-19 response, by providing medical equipment and supplies to health facilities that treat COVID-19 cases, and establishing pandemic subnational reference laboratories and isolation wards to strengthen testing capacity, surveillance and infection prevention and control.
The project also seeks to provide timely financing for safe and effective vaccine procurement and logistics, it added.
“I would like to thank the ADB and the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank for guiding us in this journey of a very big loan,” said DOH Undersecretary Mario Villaverde.