WB approves $570mn for Bangladesh

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Dhaka, July 30 (IANS) The World Bank has approved $570 million for two projects in Bangladesh to improve health, nutrition and population services and strengthen the country’s public procurement.

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 Sylhet and Chittagong divisions, Xinhua news agency reported.

Key health indicators are below national average in Sylhet and Chittagong, said the Washington-based lender in a statement on Saturday.

The $55 million Digitizing 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, it said.

Bangladesh spends over $7 billion a year on public procurement, which constitutes about 70 per cent of the annual development programme.

According to the bank, the Health Sector Support Project aims to increase the number of mothers receiving quality delivery care in public health facilities to at least 146,000 mothers annually in the two regions.

It will also provide basic immunization to nearly five million children.

“The World Bank and the government have been working together for years to improve the health sector and public procurement performance,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

“These two projects will help further progress towards better health outcomes and optimal use of public resources through an effective public procurement and monitoring system. This will benefit the entire nation and support Bangladesh’s journey to becoming an upper middle-income country,” he said.

–IANS

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