Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an additional loan financing of $110 million for a project to improve urban primary healthcare services in Bangladesh through public-private partnerships (PPPs).
“ADB’s support to the government-led Urban Primary Health Care Services Delivery Project approved in 2012 has been filling a vacuum created by the lack of urban public primary healthcare by increasing access to quality services, especially for poor households,” said ADB Social Sector Specialist Brian Chin.
“The new financing will focus on strengthening the service delivery system, building on the results of the 2012 project and two previous projects, to meet the unmet demands and develop self-reliance in running the system,” he said.
The project is recognised as an innovative model of partnership between the government, which contracts out health service delivery, and service providers (mainly nongovernment organizations), the ADB said on Wednesday.
As originally financed in 2012 with a $50 million ADB loan and $20 million cofinancing, it is one of the largest PPP projects for primary healthcare delivery in South Asia.
Previously, ADB provided a $40 million loan and $4.5 million cofinancing for a first project to support health services in four cities during 1998–2005.
A second project followed in 2005–2012 backed by a $30 million loan, $10 million grant, and $30 million cofinancing widening the support to six cities and five municipalities.
As originally envisaged, the 2012 project covers 10 cities and four municipalities representing about 17% of the total 57 million urban population.
According to a review in 2015, the project has been providing services to more than 23 million clients, of whom 74 percent were female, and has constructed a network of 180 health facilities and 224 satellite clinics.
The project is also building experience in the management and contracting of health service delivery, as well as monitoring and evaluation systems.
The review concluded that the project merits continuation and expansion to ensure that the growing demand for healthcare in urban areas is met.
The additional financing will cover the cost of a 5-year extension to assist the government to strengthen local health systems and continue to expand the PPP system of contracting to service providers.
It expands coverage to an additional city and 10 municipalities and will build eight additional reproductive healthcare centers and 24 primary healthcare centers.
The sustainability of health services will be ensured through a series of management, institutional, and staffing reforms, the Bank said.
The new financing will build on previous efforts toward climate change mitigation by adopting solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, and flood drainage.
The Urban Climate Change Resilience Trust Fund, financed by the Rockefeller Foundation and the governments of Switzerland and the United Kingdom, will provide a $2 million grant, to be administered by ADB.
The Bangladesh government will contribute $30 million toward the cost of the additional financing, while the United Nations Population Fund will provide $1.5 million in-kind technical support. The project completion date is March 2023.
Dhaka, Sept 19 (UNB) - Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque on Tuesday said there is no denying that international migration is providing unequivocal scope for Bangladesh to unlock potentials for sustainable development.
“A nation’s effort in building a beneficial and responsible migration governance framework should be reflected by conducive political, economic, social and environmental conditions, so that migration continues to remain as a choice and migrants are treated with respect and dignity,” he said.
The Foreign Secretary was addressing a workshop in the city organised by the government and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, where inputs from key stakeholders were gathered to finalise the migration governance framework for Bangladesh.
The workshop was held within the scope of European Union funded project on improved migration governance and sustainable reintegration for Bangladesh.
The government of Bangladesh will adopt framework on migration governance with technical support from IOM.
Representatives from key ministries, development partners, private sector, research institutions, national media and others attended it.
The workshop was chaired by the Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque who expressed sari to see the draft report on Migration Governance Framework in Bangladesh.
“The EU is committed to approach migration in a comprehensive way and to mainstream migration into all relevant policy areas,” underscored Audrey Maillot, European Union’s Team Leader, Governance.
“It is one of the political priorities of the EU as it impacts the overall EU foreign policy and development cooperation.”
She also highlighted that the migration and development nexus is an important component of the EU’s global approach on migration and mobility, the overarching framework for EU’s external migration policy.
The contribution of migrants to the country’s development has never been more significant, IOM said.
Bangladesh received US$ 13.5 Billion remittance in the year 2017.
With migration becoming one of the key livelihood options for Bangladeshis, particularly for youth, the need to develop a comprehensive governance framework has become vital.
“The migration governance framework will set out common understanding among key stakeholders, ensure shared responsibilities and unite the nation to benefit the most, and will promote safe and orderly migration opportunities,” said Sharon Dimanche, the Deputy Chief of IOM Bangladesh.
“The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for finalising the framework. Bangladesh is one of the first countries to come up with a migration governance framework on a comprehensive country assessment.”
She also thanked the Government for the continued support in prioritizing migration issues.
Earlier this year, UN members states agreed to adopt the historic Global Compact for Migration (GCM), a culmination of a process that began in September 2016 with the High-Level Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.
It is slated for adoption at an Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakesh in December.
IOM, one of the co-chairs of the Global Migration Group, has been instrumental in providing technical support that led to the adoption of GCM.
The organization will also serve as the coordinator and secretariat of the UN’s network on migration to ensure effective and coherent system-wide support for implementation.
With the Global Compact likely to drive world’s migration discourse, finalization and subsequent adoption of a migration governance framework in Bangladesh through internal government processes is going to contribute the whole migration process in Bangladesh and beyond, IOM said.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - Newly appointed Chargé D'affaires (CDA) of Oman Ta'eeb Salim 'Abdullah Al 'Alawi presented his letter of introduction to Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali at the latter’s office on Tuesday.
The Foreign Minister welcomed Alawi to Bangladesh as the Head of the Oman Embassy in Dhaka and assured him of full support from the Foreign Ministry in performing his responsibility.
Alawi conveyed greetings and best wishes of the Foreign Minister of Oman to the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, said the Foreign Ministry here.
During the meeting, they discussed various issues of bilateral interests and engagements particularly in the area of human resources, agriculture, fisheries, blue economy, defence, culture education etc.
They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest as well as on cooperation in different multilateral platforms like UN, OIC, IORA etc.
They stressed on concluding different bilateral cooperation instruments between the two countries on a priority basis.
The meeting ended with the aspiration that the relations between the two brotherly countries will be further expanded in the coming days and both sides will work to this direction.
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) - Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Bangladesh Saed Mohammed Saed Hmaid Almheiri met Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali at his office on Tuesday and discussed various issues of bilateral relations and engagements.
Almheiri conveyed greetings and best wishes of the Foreign Minister of the UAE to the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh.
Mahmood Ali expressed happiness at the enhanced engagement between Bangladesh and the UAE in the recent months and hoped for further expansion of the cooperation in the area of human resources, trade, civil aviation, defence and other potential areas for the benefit of the two peoples, said the Foreign Ministry.
They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest as well as on cooperation in different multilateral platforms.
Foreign Minister Ali assured the UAE envoy that the UAE always remains trusted friend of Bangladesh and it will always get priority in terms of mutual support in bilateral and international arena.
Dhaka, Sep 18 (UNB) - Dhaka and Moscow have signed a protocol to bring amendments to an agreement signed by both sides on development of Rooppur nuclear power plant.
On sideline of the 62nd General Conference of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) being held in Vienna Bangladesh and Russia signed the protocol on September 17.
In a statement on Tuesday, Russian state atomic energy agency Rosatom said the protocol was signed to bring in some amendments in the intergovernmental agreement signed on November 2, 2010 on partnership in construction of a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.
It also said Bangladesh can now involve Russia in developing physical protection systems for Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
Architect Yeafesh Osman, Minister for Science and Technology, Government of Bangladesh and Alexey Likhachev, Director General of Rosatom signed the Protocol on behalf of their respective governments.
The protocol provides for the possibility of involving a specialized Russian company in designing and installation of physical protection system for the main and auxiliary facilities of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
The Protocol also includes the clause saying that all the safety and security measures to ensure physical protection of the nuclear power plant to be taken in accordance with the requirements and guidelines of IAEA.
Rooppur NPP with two VVER-1200 reactors, each of 1,200 MW capacity is being constructed by Atomstroyexport (ASE), Engineering Division of Rosatom under strict monitoring by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA).
Rooppur Nuclear Power Project (RNPP) with two VVER-1200 reactors, each of 1,200 MW capacity is being constructed according to Russian design, at Ishwardi of Pabna district, 160 km from Dhaka. In accordance with the General Contract signed on December 25, 2015 Atomstroyexport (Engineering Division of Rosatom) is implementing the project as the General Contractor.
The Russian VVER-1200 reactors that is selected for the first NPP in Bangladesh, was successfully set up at Unit No 1 of Novovoronezh NPP-2, said the statement.