The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has approved a €200 million loan to Serbia to finance health expenditures aimed at combatting the spread of COVID-19.
The Serbian government has been swift to implement a range of measures, including the purchase of emergency equipment and supplies, to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The CEB loan, in the form of a Public Finance Facility (PFF), will cover gaps in the extraordinary budget lines created for COVID-19 mitigation measures.
The PFF will support the provision of health services and ensure the stability of the health sector, including the protection of medical staff. It will allow Serbia to finance the cost of medical and pharmaceutical supplies, medical equipment, patient monitors and coronavirus tests.
A key focus of the PFF is on improving the supply of personal protective equipment in hospitals such as the epidemiological and surgical masks, alcohol disinfectants for hospitals, and protective clothing.
The CEB already supports the health sector in Serbia through established projects. The Bank has recently approved a €54 million loan for the new Tirsova childcare hospital, as well as a €200 million PFF to part-finance health infrastructure projects across the country.
The latest loan brings the ongoing CEB investments in Serbia to almost €1 billion.
The Governor of the CEB Rolf Wenzel said: “Health is a priority area for CEB financing and the Bank has had excellent cooperation with Serbia in this sector. The COVID-19 outbreak has necessitated additional investments in this area, so the CEB has moved quickly to support its member countries. The loan provided to Serbia is part of our efforts to forge ahead united in our fight against this pandemic.”