ADB and Philippine Government Partnership for Pandemic Healing

In March 2021, ADB provided the Philippine government with a $400 million loan for the Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 (HEAL2) project to help finance the country’s purchases of COVID-19 vaccines. It was the first loan approved and disbursed under ADB’s $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility.

ADB’s support was not limited to securing vaccines. With technical assistance, ADB assisted the government on several fronts. This included helping the Department of Health and the National Task Force on COVID-19 in improving public communications on the vaccines as well as health promotions strategies. ADB also provided vaccine logistics and supply chain experts to assist the government in vaccine supply planning and allocation. Data management experts were recruited to support the implementation of vaccine information management systems.

Transcript

The Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands and home to 109 million people, has made huge gains in poverty reduction in the last decade. 

But the COVID-19 pandemic eroded some of those gains. ADB has been helping the country with its COVID-19 health and economic response, with total loans and grants of over $1.8 billion at the end of 2020. But for the country to fully exit from the pandemic, a nationwide vaccination program is key.

In March 2021, ADB provided the Philippine government with a $400 million loan for the Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 (HEAL2) project to help finance the country’s purchases of COVID-19 vaccines. It was the first loan approved and disbursed under ADB’s $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility.

Q1: What was the situation in the Philippines when ADB partnered with the government in December 2020 for vaccine support?

A:  (Eduardo Banzon, Principal Health Specialist, Southeast Asia Department)

By the end of the year last year, the Philippine government realized that in order to manage or control COVID-19, they need to vaccinate as many Filipinos the following year, 2021.  COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access) was available for them but they needed to supplement that. So they started reaching out to vaccine manufacturers to explore bilateral deals. And as they had these discussions, they reached out to us, the ADB, for financing, they reached out to us to help them for technical advice, at the same time to make sure that they get value for money.

Q2: What was ADB’s biggest or most valuable contribution to the government’s vaccine procurement efforts?

A:  (Ruby Alvarez, Senior Project Officer, Philippines Country Office)

The Philippines needed to lock in supplies quickly, urgently and advanced payments were required to finance contracts. At that time,  government rules did not provide the country with elbow room to negotiate contracts in a heavily supplier-driven Covid 19 vaccine market.   The Philippines leveraged on ADB’s procurement framework, advice on procurement risks and supply contracts.

As a result, the HEAL 2 loan is financing two of the  largest contracts with Pfizer and Sinovac.  Together, these two contracts make up half of the 2021 vaccine supply for the country.

Q3: What other assistance did ADB provide to the government under HEAL 2 apart from vaccine procurement and delivery?

A: (Sakiko Tanaka, Principal Principal Social Sector Specialist, Southeast Asia Department)

Our support is not limited to securing vaccines. With technical assistance, we support the government  on  several fronts. We are helping the Department of Health and the National Task Force on COVID-19 in improving public communications on the vaccines as well as health promotions strategies. Now we see national surveys show  an increase in vaccine acceptance, along with a decline in vaccine hesitancy.

ADB also provided vaccine logistics and supply chain experts to assist the government in vaccine supply planning and allocation. We provided data management experts to support the implementation of vaccine information management systems.

HEAL2 is also an effective gender mainstreaming project.  The project supports the Department of Health to increase vaccine access for marginalized women and those living in the most difficult remote areas and difficult circumstances.

ADB is also closely working with other development partners. AIIB cofinanced HEAL 2 with a $300 million loan. We have health partners’ meetings with AIIB, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, UNICEF, USAID,  WHO, and the World Bank for coordination of our work on various aspects and stages of the vaccine rollout.

Q4: What are the next steps for the ADB and Philippines’ vaccine partnership? 

A: (Kelly Bird, ADB Philippines Country Director)

We have two steps going forward. As you know, our current loan of $400 million under the APVAX facility is now fully committed. We’re almost fully disbursed or we will be this year. The government has asked us to provide additional financing of $250 million and that will also be cofinanced with AIIB. This additional financing will be used for procuring booster vaccines for delivery early next year. The second aspect of this is our Universal Health Care reforms. Currently we are preparing a policy based loan called Building Universal Health Care and that is going to the board for approval in November of this year. And that is going to be focusing on policy reforms and institutional reforms to strengthen health care delivery services in the Philippines and ensuring that all Filipinos get access to quality health care.

The $600 million Building Universal Health Care program was approved by ADB’s board of directors on 19 November.

 

 
This page was generated from /news/videos/adb-and-philippine-government-partnership-pandemic-healing on 06 June 2024

Source URL: https://www.adb.org/news/videos/adb-and-philippine-government-partnership-pandemic-healing