The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Bangladesh government on Tuesday signed an agreement for a $3 million grant for procuring urgent medical supplies, including Covid-19 vaccines.
The Japanese government is financing the grant sourced from the ADB-administered Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund.
Fatima Yasmin, secretary to the Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Manmohan Parkash, country director of the ADB, virtually signed the grant agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and the ADB respectively.
Manmohan said, "We are very pleased to provide this assistance that can be used to procure Covid-19 vaccine, which is under development, and the government is trying to source it at the earliest for the people of Bangladesh."
"While the Covid-19 pandemic remains under control, providing vaccines to the people is an urgent priority to tame the disease for resuming economic activities in full swing. We are closely working with the government to minimise the health and economic impacts of the pandemic and help accelerate the post-pandemic socio-economic recovery of the country," he added.
The new assistance builds on the ADB's previous support of around $603 million in loans and grants to contain and mitigate the pandemic in Bangladesh.
The ADB on May 7 approved $500 million in loan to bolster the efforts of the Bangladesh government to manage the impacts of the pandemic on the country's economy and public health.
On April 30, the ADB approved a $100 million concessional emergency loan to support Bangladesh's efforts to address the immediate public health requirements of combatting the pandemic.
The ADB also released a $350,000 emergency grant for the procurement of medical supplies and equipment, and $1.3 million from an existing project to provide one-time cash support to 22,619 trainees to enable them to continue their ongoing skills training programme.
In addition, $231,178 in grant was provided to augment Covid-19-related facilities in 134 urban primary healthcare centres, also called Nagar Shastho Kendro, across the country.
Since February, the ADB's emergency assistance grants to its developing members have helped ensure the supply of essential medicines and personal protective equipment.
In April, the ADB announced a $20 billion comprehensive response package to help its developing member countries address the immediate and long-term macroeconomic and health impacts of Covid-19 in the region.
In its 47-year-long partnership with Bangladesh, the ADB has mobilised over $36.6 billion in loans and grants, including co-financing, to help bring better infrastructure, public services, and social development outcomes to the people of Bangladesh.
The ADB's current sovereign portfolio in Bangladesh has 49 projects of around $11 billion.
The ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.
Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members, 49 from the region.