DHAKA, September 20, 2018 — The government of Bangladesh today signed a $50 million grant financing agreement with the World Bank to help strengthen the government’s health care services, so they can respond to the health, nutrition, and family planning needs of the Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar.
This additional financing to the existing Health Sector Support Project will help provide essential health and nutrition services to the Rohingya people, which will include maternal, neonatal, infant, child, and adolescent health, nutrition and psychosocial services, as well as reproductive health care.
“Nearly one million Rohingya live in congested camps, including the Kutupalong camp, the world’s largest refugee camp. They face risks of disease outbreaks and suffer from high rates of child malnutrition. Their health care needs are enormous,” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan. “This grant financing will help the government plan and manage health, nutrition and population services for the Rohingya people while the existing project will continue to provide healthcare to the local population.”
This is the first in a series of projects financed by the World Bank to support Bangladesh in dealing with the Rohingya influx. The financing will strengthen health services provided through the health centers within the camps, in addition to the Cox’s Bazar District Hospital, Upazilla health complexes and other selected government facilities in Ukhia and Teknaf. This will also help the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to scale up and strengthen the existing facilities within and adjacent to the camps. Through the Women Friendly Centers within the camps, the financing will support services for the victims of gender-based violence.
“Bangladesh has provided shelter to the Rohingya population who fled from violence in Myanmar. The majority of them are women and children,” said Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh. “The government of Bangladesh is addressing the needs of the displaced population together with the host community. We welcome the support from the World Bank.”
Of the $50 million financing, the World Bank will provide $41.67 million as a grant through the IDA18 Regional Sub-window for Refugees and Host Communities with an additional $8.33 million as a grant from the Government of Canada. This innovative World Bank financing instrument for refugees and host communities means that for every dollar contributed by Canada, five additional grant dollars will be unlocked for a total of $50 million in new financing.
The agreement was signed by Kazi Shofiqul Azam and Qimiao Fan on behalf of the government and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.
The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then, the World Bank has committed nearly $29 billion in grants and interest-free credits to the country. In recent years, Bangladesh has been among the largest recipients of the World Bank’s interest-free credits.