The amount is consistent with that of the current fiscal year’s budget, but needs to be maintained because the coronavirus continues to ravage the world, said Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal during his proposal of the fiscal 2021-22 budget on Thursday.
Bangladesh has also received a significant amount of foreign funding to continue the fight against the pandemic into the new fiscal year, the minister said.
This includes $600 million from the World bank, $100 million from the Asian Development Bank and another $100 million from the Asian Infrastructure Bank. These funds have been used to implement a number of projects which will continue into the coming fiscal year, Minister Kamal said.
The ‘COVID-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness’ project purchases vaccines, installs oxygen lines, sets up ICUs and CCUs and other activities and is supported by the World Bank and AIIB.
The ‘COVID-19 Response Emergency Assistance’ project, with support from ADB, will strengthen Bangladesh’s capacity to tackle the pandemic and improve systems for preventing, controlling and treating infectious diseases while also strengthening the emergency preparedness capacity. The project will purchase ICU beds, ventilators, and PCR machines and also support the development of modern microbiology laboratories at 19 institutions.
Bangladesh has also taken steps to enhance the capacity of private medical college hospitals to deal with the pandemic, Minister Kamal said.
It is also in the process of urgently recruiting manpower and consultants to ensure proper case management, the expansion of laboratory facilities and enhancing the skills of health workers, doctors, nurses and technologists.
On Wednesday, the number of coronavirus cases in Bangladesh surged by 1,988 to 804,293. The death toll from the pandemic also rose by 34 to 12,694.
Globally, over 171.19 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 3.56 million have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.