World Bank supports Bangladesh to improve housing for the urban poor and health services

News Hour:

The Government of Bangladesh today signed two financing agreements totaling to $200 million with the World Bank to improve health systems and delivery of health services, and, the living conditions of the urban poor in selected municipality areas.

The $150 million additional financing to the Health Sector Development Program will continue to support the government to mitigate health sector challenges, including sustaining and improving immunization coverage; further improving deliveries for pregnant women at public health facilities; tackling multi-drug resistant tuberculosis; and, strengthening health systems.

“These two financings will help Bangladesh improve the lives and living standards of its population. The additional financing for the Health Sector Development Program will contribute to building a healthy nation, in particular, the financing will enable the poor access better health services,” said Zahid Hussain, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. “With about half a million new people arriving in the cities every year, the urban infrastructure, particularly housing is under immense pressure. The Low Income Community Housing Support project will take an innovative approach to address housing issues among the urban poor.”

In Bangladesh, around 62 percent of the urban population lives in slums, which is among the highest percentages in Asia. The $50 million Low Income Community Housing Support Project will pilot a community driven approach to improve the living conditions of the urban poor in selected municipalities. Around 40,000 low-income urban residents will have access to housing loans, while another 120,000 people will benefit from the improved roads and drainage.

“Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty and accelerating economic growth in the last decade. To achieve its vision of reaching middle-income status by 2021, the country is focusing on key priority areas including improving health care and health systems as well as the living conditions of the urban poor,” said Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh.

The agreements were signed by Azam and Hussain on behalf of the government and the World Bank respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.

The credits from the World Bank’s International Development Association, its grant to low-interest loan arm, have a 38-year term, including a six-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.

Mridha Shihab Mahmud is a writer, content editor and photojournalist. He works as a staff reporter at News Hour. He is also involved in humanitarian works through a trust called Safety Assistance For Emergencies (SAFE). Mridha also works as film director. His passion is photography. He is the chief respondent person in Mymensingh Film & Photography Society. Besides professional attachment, he loves graphics designing, painting, digital art and social networking.
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