World Bank approves $570 million fund to Bangladesh to strengthen country's health facilities

Dhaka: The World Bank has approved a total of $570 million for two projects in Bangladesh to improve health, nutrition, and population services and strengthen the country's public procurement. "The World Bank and the (Bangladesh) government have been working together for years to improve the health sector and public procurement performance," Qimiao Fan, World Bank director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal said in a statement.

"The $515 million Health Sector Support Project will strengthen the country's health system and improve quality and coverage of essential service delivery, with a focus on the Sylhet and Chittagong divisions, where key health indicators are below national average," he said in the statement.

 World Bank approves 0 million fund to Bangladesh to strengthen countrys health facilities

World Bank. Reuters

"It aims to increase the number of mothers receiving quality delivery care in public health facilities to at least 146,000 annually in Sylhet and Chittagong divisions. It will also provide basic immunisation to nearly 5 million children," Fan said.

As Bangladesh experiences demographic changes, the project will help address emerging health challenges, such as non-communicable diseases. In Sylhet and Chittagong divisions, it will support school-based adolescent health and nutrition services, the statement said.

The project will also help improve Bangladesh's financial management and procurement in the sector and develop a robust health information system. It will enable over 7,000 community clinics to provide complete essential data on service delivery, and ensure at least 150 health facilities to each have two accredited midwives on staff.

The financing will contribute to the government's $14.7 billion health sector program between 2017 and 2022. It includes a $15 million grant from the Global Financing Facility to improve service delivery for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition.

The other financing approved, the $55 million Digitising Implementation Monitoring and Public Procurement Project, will help Bangladesh improve public procurement performance, including its capacity to monitor implementation of development projects and programmes using digital technology, the World Bank statement said.

According to concerned officials, Bangladesh spends over $7 billion yearly on public procurement, which constitutes about 70 percent of the annual development programme.

The World Bank helped Bangladesh roll out electronic procurement (e-GP) in four key public procuring entities in 2011, and establish a high capacity data centre in 2016 to accommodate increasing demand for electronic procurement. The new project will expand e-GP to all 1300 government procuring organisations, the statement said.

The project will help the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division effectively monitor the execution of annual development programs by establishing a single online platform connecting all public sector organisations.

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Updated Date: Jul 30, 2017 19:19:58 IST