The World Bank has approved a fast-track $100 million financing to help Bangladesh prevent, detect, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic and strengthen its national system for public health emergencies.
The Covid-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness Project will be rolled out nationwide 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, said a release of the global lender on Friday.
The project 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.
"The World Bank is working closely with the government of Bangladesh to fight the spread of Covid-19," said Mercy Tembon, WB country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
She said the project would support the implementation of Bangladesh's national plan to respond to the pandemic. It would help strengthen the country's response by ensuring that effective surveillance and diagnostic systems were in place and that medical supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators and isolation units were available in designated hospitals, she added.
The project will equip designated laboratories with Covid-19 trained staff as well as diagnostic equipment, test kits, and reagents, said the release.
It is mobilising resources for faster procurement to expedite the acquisition of critical items.
To deliver critical medical support and cope with the increased demand for services, the project will rehabilitate district-level health facilities, selected medical college hospitals, the Infectious Diseases Hospital, and the Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, among others.
It will help set up new isolation wards and ramp up intensive care units, provide personal protective equipment, medical equipment including ventilators, and medicines in designated hospitals.
The project will also help improve medical waste management and disposal, and water and sanitation systems in the designated health facilities.
The project is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the WB's fund for the poorest countries. The credit has a 30-year maturity, including a five-year grace period.
WB GROUP COVID-19 RESPONSE
The World Bank Group is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the Covid-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery, said another WB release on Thursday.
The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and IDA are making an initial $6 billion available for the health-response.
As countries need broader support, the WB Group will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, said the release.