Tk 10,000 cr. allocated to combat Covid-19
DHAKA, June 03,2021 (BSS) – Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal today proposed to allocate Tk 10,000 crore in the budget for FY22 to fulfill the emergency requirements to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The health system of Bangladesh is facing challenges like most of the countries of the world due to the prevailing situation caused by global pandemic Covid-19.
In this context, the FinanceMinister made the proposal in the proposed budget titled “Bangladesh towards a resilient future protecting lives and livelihood.”
In his budget proposal, the Finance Minister said during the critical period of the pandemic, the government has strengthened its efforts to ensure affordable health services for all citizens through the development of the health, nutrition and population sector.
Distribution of Tk. 850 crore allocated in the current fiscal year for payment of compensation to the doctors, nurses and other officials who have died on duty and payment as honorarium to the doctors, nurses and health workers are underway, he said.
The National Deployment and Vaccination Plan has been prepared under the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) to protect the lives of people from the COVID-19, he added.
The minister said the government procured 3 crore doses Covishield vaccine of Oxford-AstraZeneca from the Serum Institute of India.
“In addition, 6.80 crore doses of coronavirus vaccine will be available from the Covax facility under the World Health Organisation for 20 percent of our population, that is, for 3.40 crore people. Out of this 1.06 lakh doses have already been received”, Kamal said.
He said there are plans to buy vaccines from the Governments of China and Russia, Pfizer Co. from the USA and Sanofi/GSK from France/Belgium. Negotiations are at the final stage for procuring Sinopharm vaccine from China and Sputnik-V vaccine from Russia, and, if necessary, manufacturing the same in Bangladesh, he continued.
Meanwhile, 70 lakh doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine reached Bangladesh, and the Governments of India and China gave 32 lakh doses and 5 lakh doses respectively of coronavirus vaccine as gifts, the minister said.
“The World Bank provided US$ 500 million for procuring COVID vaccines and US$ 14.87 million for logistics support. Loan Agreement for US$ 940 million with the ADB to procure COVID vaccine is at the final stage. Alongside, there is a good possibility to receive support for vaccine procurement from the European Investment Bank and AIIB”, he added.
The minister said the vaccination programme is conducted in 1,005 hospital-based vaccination centres across the country.
The corona vaccine and logistic cold chain management is being managed through the existing EPI in the country and the cold chain system of the Directorate General of Health, he added.
To keep the regular vaccination program uninterrupted Senior Staff Nurses, Assistant Community Medical Officers have been assigned as Vaccinators, he said.
The minister said a number plans have been undertaken to develop the health sector to address the impact of COVID-19.
The implementation of some of these projects has begun in the current fiscal year and will continue in the next financial year, he added.
Different projects are being implemented with the funding of US$ 600 million from the World Bank, US$ 100 million from the Asian Development Bank and US$ 100 million from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), he said.
The minister said the ‘COVID-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness’ project, supported by the World Bank and AIIB, is in progress.
To enhance the country’s capacity to tackle the pandemic, improve the system of prevention, control and treatment of infectious diseases and strengthen the emergency preparedness capacity, the ‘COVID-19 Response Emergency Assistance’ project is being implemented with support from ADB, he continued.
Purchase of ICU beds, ventilators and PCR machines and expansion of modern microbiology laboratories in 19 institutions and activities are being taken up under the project, the minister said.
Besides, he said, the process of urgently recruiting necessary manpower and hiring consultants on a contract basis is underway to ensure proper case management including expanding laboratory facilities and enhancing the skills of concerned health workers, doctors, nurses and technologists.