World Bank increases support for health sector in Bangladesh

June 27, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

 

 

By

Sheuli Akter

Bangladesh has reduced under-five child mortality by 29 percent between 2007 and 2014, and during the same period, births attended by medically trained professionals increased from 21 percent to 42 percent. Despite such remarkable progress made over the last decade, the country needs to go an extra mile.

The World Bank has approved $150 million in additional financing to help strengthen Bangladesh’s health systems and improve health services, particularly for the poor.

This additional financing to the Health Sector Development Program will continue support to implement the government’s Health Sector-wide Program, said the Washington-based lender.

It said the support will help the government address health sector challenges, including sustaining and improving immunization coverage; further improving deliveries for pregnant women at public health facilities; and tackling multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

The financing will also help Bangladesh improve public financial management to get more value from its public spending on health, it added.

Further, the bank said the financing will support developing a robust health information system, including for the first time in Bangladesh a web-based complaint-handling mechanism.

Bangladesh’s progress in improving health outcomes is remarkable. The country is globally recognized for improving maternal and child health and family planning. Yet many Bangladeshis struggle to access quality health services, costing the economy millions of dollars in days lost due to poor health,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. “Since 1998, we have been supporting the government-led program to address the remaining challenges in the health sector to ensure quality health care for all citizens.”

 

The Health Sector Development Program and its predecessors have contributed to a 40 percent reduction in maternal mortality since 2010.

The additional financing will disburse funds against the achievements of agreed results corresponding to the challenges and priority areas.

“The additional financing will follow a new fund disbursement modality linked to the achievement of disbursement linked results, which will pave the way for more results-based intervention in the future,” said Bushra Alam, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.

With this additional financing, the World Bank’s support to the project now stands at $508.9 million. The credit from the World Bank’s International Development Association, which provides grants or zero to low interest loans, has a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.

 

 

 

 

Sheuli Akter

Sheuli Akter, from Bangladesh, is a Special Correspondent and Editor of NsNewsWire, (Bangladesh’s First Press Newswire). Previously she had worked for Bangladesh’ top news agency, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and top newspaper (now defunct) The Bangladesh Observer. She also gained an honourable mention in the first ever World Media Summit WMS Awards for ‘Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries’, receiving the award in Beijing in January 2015.

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