ISLAMABAD: On the directives of Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Board of National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) has approved grant financing of US$ 50 Million to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to supplement Government’s response for prevention and spread of Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
In wake of declaration of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO), Pakistan has declared a National Health Emergency of Public Concern on 13 March 2020.
With the growing number of confirmed cases of coronavirus patients every day, situation warrants high level of preparedness and preemptive measures to control spread of virus.
In order to supplement GoP efforts, NDRMF has approved project aimed to ‘enhance Pakistan’s capacity for preparedness and response for Covid-19 ‘with total project cost of PKR 7,899.999 Million (US $ 50.0 million), submitted by NDMA with the assistance of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination (M/o NHRS&C).
Based on 3 months country’s requirements of health products, the project is based on six months duration with an objective to effectively respond to minimize impact of Corona, through surveillance strengthening, case management, infection prevention and protection of medical and para medical staff through provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other materials for Covid-19 response.
The NDRMF completed all its procedural steps related to project review and approval, in less than 24 hours and has confirmed its grant financing of US $ 50.0 million for the project to NDMA by signing a tripartite agreement between NDRMF, NDMA and Ministry of health being signed today.
Taking a self-initiative on the directions of Board, NDRMF engaged with NDMA, and Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination (M/o NHRS&C) and help them to figure out the immediate requirements of health equipment and productions, including but not limited to Testing kits, Viral RNA Extraction Kits, Mobile X-ray machines, Clinical ICU Ventilators, Syringe Pumps, N 95 Masks, Tyvek suit (protection suits for health care), Thermal Guns & Scanners which the country would be needing under 0-3 months caseload, through various inter-ministerial consultative dialogues. NDRMF’s Board also simplified Fund’s procedures and prescribed formats, for easing out the proponents to submit brief project proposals with less efforts enabling them to achieve the grant financing in shortest possible time, thus succeeding taking time bound preventive actions.
Out of the said financial commitment, pursuant to the directives of NDRMF Board, Fund has already deposited PKR.3,200,002,916 (US $ 20 Million) in the Consolidated (Non-Food) Account No. 1 of the Government of Pakistan through Federal Treasury Office, from the profits that had been accrued from its Endowment Fund. Whereas, US $ 30.00 million shall be made available from Asian Development Bank’s Loan for NDRMF in the aforesaid account shortly.
Furthermore, as per directives of National Security Council, NDMA being the lead agency to coordinate Covid-19 response will be responsible for the overall management of the project, including procurement, quality assurance, inventory and supply chain management, reporting, oversight, monitoring and Financial & Audit arrangements. To ensure the technical and other requirements NDMA will work in close coordination with M/o NHSRC and other stakeholders.
Government is approaching the challenge with a multi-pronged approach, including preventive measures, containment efforts, and treatment of infected. In this context, NDRMF is being approached by the national and provincial entities to support the preparatory efforts. In the given circumstances, the GoP and Board of Directors (BoDs) of NDRMF considered Fund is the right vehicle that can be used to support government’s initiatives for prevention of corona virus spread.