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World Bank fast-tracks $100m loan for Bangladesh in COVID-19 fight

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By ONLINE DESK
04th-Apr-2020       
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The World Bank has approved a fast-track $100 million loan to help Bangladesh prevent, detect, and respond to the coronavirus outbreak and strengthen its national systems for public health emergencies.
The COVID-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness Project will roll out nation-wide to help upgrade selected health facilities and laboratories to detect, manage and treat suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases and support screening in Bangladesh’s designated health facilities and entry points, the global lender said in a statement.
It will benefit people with suspected and confirmed infections, at-risk populations, medical and emergency personnel, as well as public and private service providers, medical and testing facilities, and the national health system, it added.
“The World Bank is working closely with the Government of Bangladesh to fight the spread of COVID-19,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
“This project will support the implementation of Bangladesh’s national plan to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, it will help strengthen the country’s response by ensuring that effective surveillance and diagnostic systems are in place and that medical supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators and isolation units are available in designated hospitals.”
The project will equip designated laboratories with COVID-19 trained staff as well as diagnostic equipment, test kits, and reagents. It is mobilising resources for faster procurement to expedite the acquisition of critical items.
To deliver critical medical support and cope with the increased demand for services, the project will rehabilitate district-level health facilities, selected Medical College hospitals, the Infectious Diseases Hospital, and the Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, among others.
It will help set up new isolation wards and ramp up intensive care units, provide personal protective equipment, medical equipment including ventilators, and medicines in designated hospitals. The project will also help improve medical waste management and disposal, and water and sanitation systems in the designated health facilities.
The project will help develop guidelines for treatment and hospital infection control, train medical professionals and health workers to minimize risks for patients and health personnel,  Further, it will help the government design and implement behavioral change communication campaigns for social distancing and improved hygiene practices.
The project is financed from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, through the World Bank Group’s COVID-19 Fast Track Facility. The credit has a 30-year maturity, including a five-year grace period. 
The global lender on Mar 3 announced an initial package of immediate support of up to $12 billion in fast-track grants, loans and low-interest loans to help developing countries provide better access to health services, strengthen disease surveillance and bolster public health interventions amid the coronavirus outbreak.
As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group said it will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.

Source: bdnews24.com

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