Sunday, September 24, 2017

World Bank provides $570m for Bangladesh’s health sector, public procurement 

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-07-29 21:14:00 BdST

bdnews24

The World Bank has approved a total of $570 million for two projects in Bangladesh to improve health, nutrition, and population services and strengthen public procurement.

“These two projects will help further progress towards better health outcomes and optimal use of public resources through an effective public procurement and monitoring system,” said Qimiao Fan, the World Bank’s country director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

The $515 million health project will focus on Sylhet and Chittagong, where key health indicators are below national average, the World Bank said in a statement on Friday.

It aims to increase the number of mothers receiving quality delivery care in public health facilities to at least 146,000 mothers annually in Sylhet and Chittagong.  “It will also provide basic immunisation to nearly five million children,” the World Bank said.

The project will also help improve financial management and procurement in the sector and develop a robust health information system. It will enable over 7,000 community clinics to provide complete essential data on service delivery, and ensure at least 150 health facilities to each have two accredited midwives on staff.

The other fund is $55 million that will go into a project to improve public procurement, including its capacity to monitor implementation of development projects and programmes using digital technology. Bangladesh spends over $7 billion yearly on public procurement, which constitutes about 70 percent of the annual development programme.

The World Bank helped Bangladesh roll out electronic procurement (e-GP) in four key public procuring entities in 2011, and establish a data centre in 2016 to accommodate increasing demand for electronic procurement. The new project will expand e-GP to all 1,300 government procuring organisations.

“By institutionalising electronic procurement and digitising project implementation monitoring, the project will improve effective utilisation of public resources. It will also help enhance accountability of public officials through citizen engagement,” said Zafrul Islam, task team leader of World Bank.