Bangladesh’s pandemic response
World Bank to provide US$300 million to help Bangladesh’s pandemic response
Bangladesh and the World Bank on Sunday signed a $300 million financing agreement to help the country strengthen its local urban institutions to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and improve preparedness to future shocks. The Local Government COVID-19 Response and Recovery Project will benefit 39.9 million urban residents in all eight divisions. It will help its cities and towns to build back better as they recovers from the pandemic and prepare for future shocks, including climate change, disasters, and disease outbreaks, according to a release from the World Bank. In addition, 329 municipalities and 10 city corporations will receive funds bi-annually from the project to improve critical urban services and infrastructures to mitigate and respond to climate change impacts, disasters, and future disease outbreaks. Also read: World Bank happy, congratulates Bangladesh on Padma Bridge The agreement was signed by Economic Relations Division Secretary Sharifa Khan Sharifa Khan and World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy Tembon Mercy Tembon on behalf of the Government and the World Bank, respectively. The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), which provides concessional financing, has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period. World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Mercy Tembon said that Bangladesh is rapidly urbanizing. With around 36 per cent of the population living in urban areas the city corporations and the municipalities can play a critical role in helping the urban poor recover from the pandemic as well as prepare to handle future shocks. “This project will help local government institutions take the right measures to move toward climate-smart urbanization and prepare for resilience in future shocks.” The project will carry out labor-intensive public works that in one hand will ensure water supply and sanitation, drainage, and other critical services benefitting the low-income areas, slums, and areas exposed to high disease outbreak and disaster risks and in other hand create jobs for the poor urban people. It will create 1.5 million days of short-term work as well as jobs for 10,000 women under the public works scheme. All infrastructures will incorporate energy efficiency measures, including solar panels and cool roof measures in municipal buildings and services. Also read: World Bank loan to bolster Bangladesh's economic growth The project will install hand-washing stations and toilets, including separate facilities for women and improve sanitization in public spaces such as markets, burial grounds, and offices. It will also help disabled people to access municipality-owned health clinics and conduct awareness programs on vaccines and other COVID-19 protocols, as well as outreach on gender-based violence and climate risks. ERD secretary Sharifa Khan said that with quick and proactive measures, Bangladesh government will be able to address impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. “The project will further support to ensure that the urbans areas remain prepared to any future shocks while benefitting the urban poor through job creation, better services, and infrastructure.”
Will work together with Bangladesh, global partners against Covid-19 pandemic: Miller
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller on Tuesday said America continues to work closely with Bangladesh in the fight against COVID-19 noting that the two great nations, together with their global partners, will prevail against this pandemic. He said they have provided over $73 million to support Bangladesh’s pandemic response and to date have sent 100 state-of-the art-U.S.-manufactured ventilators to treat critical patients. Ambassador Miller also gave a shout-out to his alma mater, the University of Michigan: “Go Blue!” The US virtually launched a webinar series linking medical universities in Bangladesh and the United States to share best practices in COVID-19 case management. The two part-series contributes to the Strengthening Public Health Cooperation for a Safer Economy goal outlined in the September 30 high-level consultation between United States and Bangladesh, specifically by developing a Vision for Advancing the U.S.-Bangladesh Economic Partnership. Tuesday’s webinar was organized via partnership between the Directorate General of Health Services of the Government of Bangladesh and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Project ECHO, a platform for distant mentoring and learning managed by the University of New Mexico. Also read: US committed to work with Bangladesh to end trafficking-in-persons: Miller It is one of multiple capacity-building initiatives aimed at enhancing the knowledge and medical skills of doctors and other frontline workers in both public and private health facilities to improve the care given to COVID-19 patients and reduce and control the spread of the infection funded over the past year. The programme is made possible through over $73 million in COVID-19 response assistance from U.S. government agencies, according to the US Embassy in Dhaka.