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The National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) has provided grant financing of $50 million to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to deal with the spread of the COVID-19 in the country. The Board of Directors (BoDs) of the NDRMF following the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan approved grant financing of $50 million in the wake of declaration of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The NDRMF completed all its procedural steps related to project review and approval of the grant financing of $50.0 million for the project to the NDMA for which a tripartite agreement between the NDRMF, the NDMA and the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (MNHRS&C) signing ceremony was held here on Wednesday.
Following the WHO's announcement, the Government of Pakistan 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 the virus.
The NDRMF has approved project aimed to enhance Pakistan's capacity for preparedness and response for COVID-19 with total project cost of Rs 7.9 billion submitted by the NDMA with the assistance of the MNHRS&C. Based on three months country's requirements of health products, the project is based on six months duration with an objective to effectively respond to minimise impact of coronavirus, 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 in close collaboration of the NDMA, and MNHRS&C to help 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, N95 masks, Tyvek suit (protection suits), thermal guns and scanners, which the country would be needing under 0-3 months caseload, through various inter-ministerial consultative dialogues.
Out of the said financial commitment, pursuant to the directives of the NDRMF Board, $20 million fund has already been deposited in the consolidated (Non-Food) Account No. 1 of the Government of Pakistan through the federal treasury office, from the profits that had been accrued from its endowment fund.
Whereas $30 million will be made available from the Asian Development Bank (ADB)'s loan for NDRMF, in the aforesaid account in the coming few days.
The government is approaching the challenge with a multi-pronged approach, including preventive measures, containment efforts, and treatment of infected.
In this context, the NDRMF is being approached by the national and provincial entities to support the preparatory efforts. In the given circumstances, the Board of Directors (BoDs) of the NDRMF considered fund is the right vehicle that can be used to support the government's initiatives for prevention of coronavirus spread.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020