New budget ‘falls short’ of prioritising hygiene to prevent COVID-19

  • News Desk,
    Published: 2020-06-29 02:40:30 BdST


A group of NGOs have demanded increased allocation for water, sanitation and hygiene sub-sector in the national budget for 2020-21 fiscal year to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.

The proposed budget has not considered a robust allocation and mechanism to meet the need, speakers said at a virtual press conference on Sunday.

WaterAid, UNICEF, PPRC, FANSA-BD, WSSCC of Bangladesh, FSM Network, Sanitation and Water for All, and WASH Alliance jointly organised the press conference, according to a statement.

The speakers noted the hygiene sub-sector remains a key priority to fight COVID-19 and maintain progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. The fight and efforts with insufficient allocation for the sub-sector will be hindred, they said.

The also noted budget distribution remains skewed toward urban areas.

Hossain Zillur Rahman, former caretaker government adviser, demanded prioritisation of hygiene as a vital tool of public health and epidemic preparedness and arranging large-scale nationwide hygiene campaign and installation of public hand-washing points with soap and water at the press conference.

The government announced an allocation of Tk 100 billion for the COVID-19 fight in the budget.

It should be used for the implementation of immediate set up of hand-washing stations across Dhaka city and slum areas to provide hygiene facilities for the poor to fight the outbreak, Hasin Jahan, country director of WaterAid, stated at the press conference.