The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide Bangladesh with €250 million in loan to support its mass vaccination programmes against Covid-19, especially for Rohingya refugees.
The bank made the announcement at a press conference at the EIB headquarters in Luxembourg, said a press release.
The fund will also help Bangladesh mitigate the effects of the pandemic, and strengthen the national healthcare system to end the pandemic faster, it reads.
Werner Hoyer, president of the EIB, Christian Kettel Thomsen, its vice-president, Franz Fayot, Luxembourg's minister for development cooperation, Mahbub Hassan Saleh, ambassador of Bangladesh in Brussels, and Runa Khan, founder of non-governmental organisation Friendship were present at the event.
They presented their contributions to the effort to end the pandemic, support vaccine rollout, and improve the overall quality of healthcare and living in Bangladesh.
"This partnership, which involves the governments of Bangladesh and Luxembourg, the EIB and NGOs such as Friendship, has been a wonderful example of effective and inclusive development cooperation," said Werner Hoyer.
Friendship, a social purpose organisation that received funding from the government of Luxembourg, will assist the Bangladesh government's vaccination rollout through its grassroots network in remote, climate-impacted areas across the country, according to the press release.
The EIB loan focuses on the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines and potentially support for midterm pandemic preparedness and health system resilience interventions. The project also has a significant gender element as women play a disproportionate role in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, including as front-line healthcare workers, the release said.
With a total population of more than 163 million, Bangladesh received its first COVAX shipment of Covid-19 vaccines in June 2021, as part of the Advance Market Commitment to finance low and middle-income countries.
As of March 12, 2022, 77% of citizens of all ages have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Currently, Covid-19 cases have dropped significantly all over the country, and schools have begun to reopen.