DHAKA, September 12, 2011 – The Government of Bangladesh today signed a US$ 359 million financing agreement with the World Bank for the “Health Sector Development Program (HSDP)”. The project will support the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh to improve the health status of the population, especially women, children, the poor and the marginalized. The World Bank will be joined by other development partners in supporting this country-led, sector program.
Bangladesh has made laudable progress in reducing child and maternal mortality. Infant mortality was reduced by about 20 percent since 2004 and maternal mortality ratio was reduced by about 40 percent since 2001. Significant development challenges still remain in the health sector, including malnutrition and the burden of non-communicable and communicable diseases. 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 objective of the HSDP is to enable Bangladesh to strengthen health systems and improve health services, particularly for the poor. The primary beneficiaries would be children under five, women of reproductive age, the poor and marginalized populations. The entire population would eventually benefit from better performing health systems.
“The program will support Government in implementing its maternal and child health goads. Through the program, it is expected that the number of women who deliver their babies in a health facility will be increased about 70 percent and malnutrition in children will be reduced by 10 percent among the poorest population,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. “The program also aims at increasing child immunization against measles to 90 percent.”
The program will focus on improving emergency obstetric and newborn care services and the nutritional status of expectant mothers and their children. The program will also strengthen health sector planning and resource management, human resources development, management of pharmaceuticals, health information systems and maintenance of health care facilities. Further, the program will focus its support on the low performing geographic areas such as Sylhet and Chittagong.
“The Government is now implementing the US$ 8 billion sector wide program, the Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Program, which builds on the success of the Government’s program that ended in June 2011,” said Mr. M. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Secretary, Economic Relations Department, Government of Bangladesh. “The World Bank’s financing to the health sector has been critical and it increased from US$300 in the previous program to US$359, which reflects the organization’s long standing support to the Government’s health sector.”
Mr. M. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, Secretary, Economic Relations Division and Ms. Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh signed on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.
The credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional arm, has 40 years to maturity, including a 10-year grace period; and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.