ECNEC clears 10 projects involving TK16,276 crore
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday approved a total of ten projects, including two on Covid-19 emergency response and preparedness, involving Tk 16,276 crore.
The two Covid-19 projects are the Covid-19 Emergency Response and Pandemic Preparedness Project involving Tk 1,127.52 crore, and the Covid-19 Response Emergency Assistance Project involving Tk 1,345.56 crore.
The two projects will be funded by World Bank and Asian Development Bank, as well as by the Government of Bangladesh.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) under the Health Services Division will implement the two Covid-19 projects from April 2020 to June 2023.
The approval was given during the 23rd Ecnec meeting of the outgoing fiscal year, held at the NEC conference room with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in chair, reports UNB.
The prime minister joined the meeting through videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban.
“We’ve placed 10 projects of seven ministries at [yesterday]’s meeting. The total estimated cost of the 10 approved projects is Tk 16,276.03 crore. Of the cost, Tk 14,401.52 crore will come from the national exchequer,” said Planning Minister MA Mannan while briefing reporters after the meeting.
He said four projects out of the ten had actually been approved earlier, but were placed at the meeting for formal approval.
The planning minister also said the two projects on Covid-19 were among those approved earlier and there were no amendments to the projects at yesterday’s meeting.
During the approval of the two Covid-19 projects, the prime minister stressed the need for enhancing oxygen supply to hospitals and having ICU units at every district hospital, said MA Mannan.
How will the projects strengthen Covid-19 management?
The two projects, jointly funded by World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Bangladesh government, will help improve surveillance of Covid-19 management and also aim to strengthen preparedness of the health sector and healthcare workers.
Under the two projects, a modern microbiology lab will be developed in the country and 40 PCR machines will be installed – 27 at medical college hospitals, eight at infectious disease hospitals and four at specialized hospitals.
Furthermore, existing PCR labs at 80 government and private institutions/ universities will be made more effective under the projects.
Under the projects, 50-bed isolation centres (total 850) and additional 10 bed ICUs/CCUs (total 170) will be installed at 17 medical college hospitals, while 20 isolation centres (1,820 beds) and five critical care units (320 beds) will be developed at district hospitals, according to the project proposal.
A separate 250-bed Covid-19 hospital will be developed at Mohakhali under Dhaka North City Corporation, for treating frontline workers including doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, government officials, police, Ansar etc.
A total of 42 medical centres will be developed at three international airports, eight domestic airports, three sea ports and 26 land ports, to improve the capacity for identification of any infectious disease, according to the plan.
The project also aims to set up 23 ten-bed and 30 twenty-bed makeshift isolation centres to treat Covid-19 patients locally, if any of the areas are put into lockdown.
Separate handwash corners for male and female users will also be installed at 492 upazila health complexes, 64 district hospitals, and 17 medical college hospitals across Bangladesh under the projects.
The projects also aim to develop laboratory facilities at remote areas such as Bhola, Hatiya, Sandwip and the Chittagong Hill Tracts, for better delivery of healthcare facilities.
The Ecnec meeting cleared four other fresh projects, while four old projects were revised.
The other new projects are the 7th phase of the mosque-based child and mass education program involving Tk 3,128.43 crore; making crop production more profitable through innovation of agricultural machinery and appropriate technology project involving Tk 56 crore; production, processing and distribution of good quality spice seeds project involving Tk 60.50 crore; and the project on development of drainage systems of polder 1, 2, 6-8 and extension of 6-8 in Satkhira district involving Tk 475.26 crore.