The government has signed a $515 million financing agreement with the World Bank (WB) to improve the country's health, nutrition, and population services.
The Health Sector Support Project will contribute to the government's fourth health sector program, and support strengthening the country's health system, improving quality and coverage of essential services, and enhancing equity, in particular through a focus on service improvements in Sylhet and Chittagong divisions, where key health indicators are below national averages.
The project will support the government in consolidating progress and filling remaining gaps in basic health services, including provision of quality delivery care in public health facilities for over 800,000 mothers as well as basic immunization coverage for nearly 5 million children in Sylhet and Chittagong divisions between 2017 and 2022, reports BSS.
It will also support the government in meeting growing demand for quality health services, and addressing emerging health challenges such as non-communicable diseases and urban health. Further, as the government's health spending increases, the project will help strengthen the country's management of its health system, including procurement of financial management systems.
Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh Kazi Shofiqul Azam and World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal Qimiao Fan signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides at a program held at the Economic Relations Division of the Ministry of Finance on Monday.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammad Nasim, State Minister for Health and Family Welfare Zahid Maleque and State Minister for Finance and Planning M.A. Mannan were also present.
"The government has been maintaining highest transparency and accountability in the health sector and if any irregularities are found the government takes instant action against the people involved in such misdeeds," said Mohammad Nasim.
"Bangladesh has made notable progress in cutting maternal and child mortality rates by more than half since 2000, and we are proud to have contributed to these successes," said Qimiao Fan.
"This financing demonstrates the World Bank's continued commitment to support government's strategy to further improve the country's health and nutrition services for all," he added.
"The government's Fourth Health, Population, and Nutrition Sector Program aims to ensure that all Bangladeshis will have access to quality and equitable health care in a healthy and safe living environment," said Shofiqul Azam.
"The overall program, including this project, will set a foundation towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including universal health coverage," he said.
The project is financed by a $500 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank's concessional lending arm, and a $15 million grant from the Global Financing Facility.