WB approves 359 mln USD credit to Bangladesh to improve health services

08:16, June 02, 2011      

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The World Bank has approved a 359 million U.S. dollars credit to Bangladesh to support the efforts of the country's government to improve health services, especially for women, children, the poor and the marginalized.

The credit approved on May 26 will be spent under the Health Sector Development Program (HSDP), which is a follow-up to the long standing World Bank support for the government's sector-wise programs in the health sector, said a press release of the Washington-based lender received here in Dhaka Wednesday.

The Bangladeshi government has now planned for implementation of a new 8 billion U.S. dollars sector wide program, the Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Program, from 2011 to 2016. The newly approved Health Sector Development Program 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, the press release said.

It said, since 1990, Bangladesh's infant and child mortality rates have declined by more than two-thirds. 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.

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 WB said.

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

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

Source: Xinhua
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