To help Indonesia prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is extending a USD500-million loan to the Government. The new loan will be used to expand the activities of the Indonesia Emergency Response to COVID-19 Program, as well as strengthen the health system to support the safe and effective deployment of vaccines.
The latest financing will focus on three areas: first, on the improvement of hospital and health system readiness for COVID-19 response and vaccination and maintaining essential non-COVID-19 health services, especially for women and vulnerable population groups; second, to strengthen public health laboratory, surveillance and supply chain capacity, including the upgrading of cold chain systems needed to meet the required capacity and globally accepted quality standards for vaccine storage and distribution; finally, to enable communication and coordination for emergency response and vaccine delivery to strengthen vaccine logistics and information management systems. This includes supporting the development of a culturally appropriate national awareness campaign to encourage vaccine acceptance and outreach to remote populations.
Cofinanced with the World Bank, this additional financing will benefit the entire population of Indonesia and cover all 514 districts of the country.
“Delivering safe and effective vaccines in an equitable manner needs to be a top priority at this stage in the fight against COVID19. This needs to be implemented in parallel with measures to strengthen the already stressed healthcare system in Indonesia,” said Toshiaki Keicho, Principal Investment Operations Specialist of AIIB. “As we enter the second year of the pandemic, AIIB will continue providing financing to its members to bolster their response and hasten the vaccine rollout across the region.”
The loan was approved under AIIB’s COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility, which provides financing to both public and private-sector entities facing serious adverse impacts as a result of the pandemic. This is the third financing provided by AIIB to the Government of Indonesia under the COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility reaching a total of USD1.5 billion.
AIIB’s Board of Directors had already approved a previous USD750 million loan to Indonesia in May 2020 to help the government reduce the adverse social and economic impacts of COVID-19 by expanding its social assistance programs for the poor and vulnerable, and another USD250-million loan in June 2020 to support the country’s emergency pandemic response.
“The impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak call for united coordinated efforts and support from AIIB and our other international partners to strengthen Indonesia’s health sector, enhance our emergency preparedness, and protect vulnerable populations. Additional investments in our health systems are crucial to protect our population and help them recover their productive capabilities, as well as allow our social and economic systems to build back faster,” said Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Minister of Health of the Republic of Indonesia.
The Government of Indonesia has included COVID-19 vaccination as one of the key interventions under the national strategy for economic recovery. Based on its vaccine coverage and purchase plan, frontline health workers were given the first priority to receive the vaccines; this phase was completed in February 2021. The next phase, which is ongoing, includes vaccination of the elderly and frontline public service workers. The national regulatory authority has approved the use of the available vaccines for the elderly, as well as those with comorbidities, with strict screening.