Tk 1,364cr to tackle Covid-19

The government has approved another special project of Tk 1,364 crore to combat the deadly virus Covid-19 which has already affected the world’s developed countries badly.

The project will help strengthen Bangladesh's response to the Covid-19 outbreak by providing urgent assistance with health equipment, medical supplies, diagnostic systems, and the health workforce.

The project titled ‘Covid-19 Response Emergency Assistance’ involving almost Tk 1,364.56 crore has approved by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a senior official of planning ministry told the Bangladesh Post on Thursday.

“We sent it to the Prime Minister for the approval on emergency basis on May 7 as the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council’s meeting has been postponed,” he said.

The Prime Minister has already approved the project, he said adding that, the Planning Commission has issued a Government Order (GO) for the implementation of the project on Tuesday.

Under the project, the government will set up Corona units with all facilities in 17 medical college hospitals to ensure proper treatment to the patients of the country, he mentioned.

The loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will be used for the implementation of the project, he further said.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will implement the project, he said adding that, Tk 850 crore will come from the lending agency ADB and almost Tk 514 crore will come from the government exchequer.

Secretary of Bangladesh's Economic Relations Division (ERD) Fatima Yasmin and country director of ADB in Bangladesh Manmohan Parkash, , signed the loan agreement on Wednesday on behalf of their respective sides.

ADB's Country Director in Bangladesh Manmohan Parkash said, “As a trusted development partner, we are pleased to offer 100 million US dollars to bolster the government's efforts in managing this catastrophic pandemic, which challenges Bangladesh's recent successes in socioeconomic development.”

Earlier on April 19, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved a World Bank-funded project titled ‘Covid-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness’ worth Tk 1,127 crore to increase the coronavirus testing facilities in the designated hospitals, procure necessary medical equipment to tackle the virus and ensure proper treatment to the patients.

Planning Minister MA Mannan said, “The health sector is getting special importance due to coronavirus epidemic. Health related projects are being processed expeditiously.”

“Earlier, the Prime Minister had approved another similar project on a World Bank loan. We are working with the highest priority when it comes to the project proposal of the Ministry of Health regarding corona," he informed.

Under the new project of corona units, PCR machines will be purchased for respective hospitals, PCR lab and ICU will be set up. Besides, PPE and masks will be purchased.

Moreover, the capacity and quality of 19 laboratories will be enhanced by Covid-19 microbiological diagnostic facilities.
Under this project, at least 3,500 workers in the health sector will be given training with modern skills and knowledge.

Member of Social Infrastructure Division of the Planning Commission Abul Kalam Azad said the project will be completed in a short time.