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ADB Prepares Action Plan to Address SARS
The Asian Development Bank (ADB)'s multi-disciplinary task force is now assessing the impact of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in Asia and the Pacific, the bank announced on Monday.

The task force has developed options to help its developing members through grants and concessional loans to curb SARS, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and others, ADB said in its press statement.

ADB is studying the impact of SARS on the region's economies and on its own operations, with a particular focus on the economic, social and psychological impacts on the populations of the countries most affected by the disease.

SARS negatively affects many economic sectors such as tourism, transportation, retailing, health, and education, a particular burden on the poor, the bank stressed.

ADB has developed an action plan with a set of potential responses to assist its developing members to prevent, mitigate, and alleviate the consequences.

Among others, ADB will examine the preparedness of its developing members in addressing SARS-related issues, and initiate discussions with the countries to identify any need to put in place emergency procedures to control spread of the disease.

The bank will also work with their counterparts at the WHO to prepare a memorandum of understanding to facilitate cooperation in checking the spread of SARS and, possibly, other emerging infections as well.

ADB is considering the provision of grant-funded technical assistance (TA) on a country-specific and regional basis. The TA will be available to key partners such as ministries of health, local health authorities, non-government organizations, and regional agencies.

ADB President Tadao Chino has also written to leaders of SARS-affected economies to convey concern, express ADB support for their initiatives to contain the spread of SARS, and to advise them of the task force.

(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2003)

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