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U.S. grants Bangladesh 40 mln USD for health program

(Xinhua)

08:43, April 10, 2012

DHAKA, April 9 (Xinhua) -- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Monday announced its commitment to provide a grant of 40 million U.S. dollars over the next five years to Bangladesh's 7.6 billion U.S. dollars health sector development program.

The commitment comes through an agreement signed here in capital Dhaka on Monday afternoon between the USAID and the World Bank (WB), which administers resources on behalf of Bangladesh's development partners.

According to a WB statement, Bangladesh's Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Program (HPNSDP), with an estimated cost of 7.6 billion U.S. dollars, is one of the largest sector-wide programs in the world.

It said the Bangladeshi government has thus far committed to providing around 75 percent of the resources required for the program.

Development partners will provide support through both pooled and parallel financing mechanisms, it said, adding currently the pooled fund stands at 430 million U.S. dollars, and includes contributions from the U.K., Sweden, the World Bank and now USAID.

Additional support for the pooled fund is anticipated from partners like Australia, Germany, Netherlands and Canada, said the WB statement.

The program recognizes the special needs of the poor and women and aims to address inequalities through innovative approaches that will enable poor and marginalized groups to overcome some of the barriers they face in accessing health services, it added.

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