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World Bank Supports Government's Sector-wide Health, Population and Nutrition Program

June 1, 2011

DHAKA, June 01, 2011 – The World Bank, on May 26, approved a US$ 359 million credit for the Health Sector Development Program (HSDP) to support the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh to improve health services, especially for women, children, the poor and the marginalized.

This is a follow-on to the long standing World Bank support for the Government’s sector wide programs in the health sector. The Government has implemented two sector wide programs - the Health and Population Sector Program (1998–2005) and the Health, Nutrition and Population Sector Program (2005–2011). The World Bank contributed US$ 300 million to the Health, Nutrition and Population Sector Program and helped mobilize a total of US$ 1.2 billion in donor assistance.

Since 1990, infant and child mortality rates have declined by more than two-thirds, earning Bangladesh a United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Award in 2010. Similarly, an impressive decline has been attained in the maternal mortality ratio, from 320 per 100,000 live births in 2001 to 194 in 2010.

Based on the successes and lessons learned from past programs and in recognition of the challenges ahead, the Government has now planned for implementation of a new US$ 8 billion sector wide program, the Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Program, from 2011 to 2016. The newly approved Health Sector Development Program (HSDP) of the World Bank is fully aligned with this program, and will play an important role in operationalizing commitments to improve essential health services and strengthen the systems.

“This operation adheres to best-practice for aid effectiveness, supporting a country-led, sector-based program instead of a stand-alone project,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. “The program aligns multiple development partners to the country's priorities in health, nutrition and population, and uses country systems for implementation and monitoring rather than fragmented donor procedures. It is the kind of innovation in aid management that we wish to pursue in other sectors.”

Significant development challenges still remain in the health sector, including a double burden of non-communicable and communicable diseases. The percentage as well as the number of malnourished women and children in Bangladesh remains among the highest in the world. The fertility rate needs to be reduced further in order to avoid a doubling of the population by the next 40 to 50 years.

The Bank’s new support will be utilized for accelerating progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals related to health, nutrition and population.

“The program has two components, improving health services and strengthening health systems. This includes improving emergency obstetric and newborn care services and the nutritional status of expectant mothers and their children,” said Sameh El-Saharty, Project Team Leader. “The second component entails strengthening health sector planning and resource management, human resources development, management of pharmaceuticals, health information systems and maintenance of health care facilities.”

The World Bank assistance is a credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s concessionary lending arm. The credit carries a 0.75% service charge, a maturity of 40 years, including a 10-years grace period.

Media Contacts
In Washington
Benjamin S. Crow
Tel : (202) 473 1729
In Dhaka
Mehrin A. Mahbub
Tel : (880-2) 8159001