ULAN BATOR, March 31 (Xinhua) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a 100-million-U.S.-dollar loan to strengthen Mongolia’s health sector and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank’s office in Mongolia said Wednesday.
“Mongolia remains vulnerable to COVID-19 and other emerging diseases. A surge in infections would strain the health system and result in a shortage of quarantine facilities, necessary equipment, drugs, and other essential resources,” said James Lynch, director general of the East Asia Regional Department of the ADB.
He said that the project will expedite the medium-term reforms that will strengthen the health system and help Mongolia become better prepared to respond to future health crises.
The project will focus on four reform areas: strengthening planning and preparedness of the health sector, and ensuring the availability of critical medicines and emergency supplies; improving national pharmaceutical regulation, and increasing hospital autonomy and good governance; enhancing procurement in the health sector to increase efficiency, and establishing a single purchaser for health services; and safeguarding fiscal sustainability of the government over the next three to five years, said the ADB.
As of Wednesday, Mongolia has confirmed around 8,500 COVID-19 cases, with 12 deaths.
It is estimated that about 60 percent of the country’s 3.3 million population is at high risk of infection.
According to a 2017 World Health Organization evaluation, Mongolia’s core capacities relating to pandemic preparedness are limited, suggesting Mongolia is ill-prepared for a surge of COVID-19 or a similar pandemic. Enditem