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PRESS RELEASE

Government and Development Partners Join to Improve Health Care in Bangladesh

September 12, 2012



DHAKA, September 12, 2012:  Representatives of the Governments of Australia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States joined together today to witness the signing of a Multi-Donor Trust Fund Grant Agreement for the Bangladesh Health Sector Development Program (HSDP). The agreement, signed between the Government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, will channel US$ 280 million of development partner grant funds to support the Government’s health sector wide program for a period of five years.

The Government’s health sector program builds on Bangladesh’s achievements in the sector and is designed to improve health services and strength health systems. The program costs around US$ 7 billion, financed 75 percent by the Government and the remainder by development partners.  It targets resources to the poor to create a health care system that caters to the needs of the people.

External funding for the HSDP includes the Multi Donor Trust Fund of US$ 280 million and the World Bank’s IDA credit of US$ 359 million. The HSDP 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.

“Success in reducing child mortality and implementing widespread immunization campaigns are just two examples of the strides Bangladesh has made in improving the health of its citizens,” said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh. “With HSDP the country now has the opportunity to go further in ensuring a health care system that is effective, accountable and responsive to the needs of the people.”

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.

“The Government’s priority is to improve access to and utilization of health services in order to reduce morbidity and mortality, particularly among infants, children and women; reduce the population growth rate; and improve the nutritional status, especially of women and children,” said Mr. Arastoo Khan, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh.Donor financing through a well-coordinated mechanism, such as the HSDP trust fund, will be crucial to achieve these goals and ensure healthy lives for all in Bangladesh.”

Dr. A F M Ruhal Haque, the Honorable Minister for Health and Family Welfare was present during the signing ceremony as Chief Guest.

Mr. Arastoo Khan, Additional 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.

Four development partners have pooled their finances in the Multi-Donor Trust Fund: the Government of Australia acting through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID); United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland represented by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Sweden, represented by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The Government of Canada, represented by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); the Federal Republic of Germany through KfW; and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) have also pledged to pool their financing in the near future.

Media Contacts
In Dhaka
Mehrin A. Mahbub
Tel : (880-2) 8159001
mmahbub@worldbank.org
In Washington
Gabriela Aguilar
Tel : (202) 473-8955
gaguilar2@worldbank.org



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