Covid 19: World Bank fast-tracks $100m support for Bangladesh

Photo: Collected

The World Bank has approved a fast-track $100 million support for Bangladesh to prevent, detect, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic and strengthen its systems for public health emergencies. The support was approved on Saturday.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness Project will roll out nation-wide to help upgrade selected health facilities and laboratories to detect, manage and treat suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases and support screening in Bangladesh’s designated health facilities and entry points, the global lender said in a statement.

It will benefit people with suspected and confirmed infections, at-risk populations, medical and emergency personnel, as well as public and private service providers, medical and testing facilities, and the national health system, it added.

“The World Bank is working closely with the Government of Bangladesh to fight the spread of Covid-19,” World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy Tembon said.

“This project will support the implementation of Bangladesh’s national plan to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Moreover, it will help strengthen the country’s response by ensuring that effective surveillance and diagnostic systems are in place and that medical supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators and isolation units are available in designated hospitals,” Tembon added.

The project is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, through the World Bank Group’s COVID-19 Fast Track Facility. The credit has a 30-year maturity, including a five-year grace period.

The global lender on Mar 3 announced an initial package of immediate support of up to $12 billion in fast-track grants, loans and low-interest loans to help developing countries provide better access to health services, strengthen disease surveillance and bolster public health interventions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group said it will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.