The World Bank yesterday approved a fast-track $100 million financing to help Bangladesh prevent, detect, and respond to the Covid-19 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.
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.
"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.
"This project will support the implementation of Bangladesh's national plan to respond to the 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," she said.
The project will equip designated laboratories with Covid-19 trained staff as well as diagnostic equipment, test kits, and reagents.
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.
To minimise risks for patients and health personnel, the project will help develop guidelines for treatment and hospital infection control, train medical professionals and health workers. Further, it will help the government design and implement behavioural change communication campaigns for social distancing and improved hygiene practices.
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. The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
The IFC is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. 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.