The Honorable Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. A. F. M. Ruhal Haque; Mr. Iqbal Mahmood, Senior Secretary of the Economic Relations Division; Mr. Humayun Kabir, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Development Partners; Government officials; Distinguished Colleagues; the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
This is a wonderful occasion to sign the Agreement for a multi-donor trust fund with Government, making the Bangladesh Health Sector-wide Program one of the largest Sector Programs in the world. Let me congratulate the Government of Bangladesh for the leadership provided to make this program a reality. You have truly brought all financiers together under the ambit of the national program. Let me also congratulate the key agencies - AusAID, DFID, Sida and USAID - who have joined this financing agreement to align their initiatives with the national program in order to strengthen country systems and capacities.
The pooled fund includes the multi-donor trust fund of about 280 million dollars and IDA credit of 360 million dollars. We anticipate that the Governments of Canada, Germany and the Netherlands will soon be joining the multi-donor trust fund as well. By pooling their finances in this way, these development partners have entrusted the World Bank with the responsibility to ensure fiduciary oversight of their funds. This builds on the World Bank’s successful stewardship of seven such contributions under the last sector-wide program.
The World Bank is proud to have supported the Government in the development of the health sector since 1975 through numerous, consecutive projects and sector wide approaches. Bangladesh’s achievements in human development are well-known and impressive, surpassing progress in many neighboring countries, particularly with respect to reducing fertility and infant and child mortality and maternal mortality through sustained public investment in health, family planning and female education services.
This program builds on the successes and lessons learned from the implementation of the last sector program, and aims to further improve delivery of health services and strengthen health systems. We development partners are pleased that this is a home grown and country-owned program where Government has committed over 75% of the resources required to implement the program.
Of particular note is the strong focus on results under the program. Recognizing that effective measuring and monitoring spurs the achievement of better results, the Government has set out clear and ambitious targets for the sector program which will be reviewed regularly. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the development partners have jointly defined a detailed set of indicators, set out in the results framework of the program. The Program focuses on health, family planning and nutrition outcomes, with rewards for effective and improved performance. I am confident that this results based approach will help drive us forward to fully achieve or surpass the program objectives.
Let me end by reiterating the World Bank’s commitment to continued partnership with Bangladesh in implementing the health sector development program. Let me thank again the Government and all of our collaborating development partners for the constructive way in which we have worked together to make the lives of millions of Bangladeshis healthier and happier.