WHO-Bangladesh launches the new Biennial Collaborative Programme

The WHO – Bangladesh Country Office had an official launching of their new two-year biennial programme of technical assistance to the Government of Bangladesh. It took place at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on January 31, 2008, and was attended by 80 participants. The official launching event was chaired by Mr AKM Zafarullah Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The WHO representative to Bangladesh, Dr Duangvadee Sungkhobol, the Director General of Family Planning, and the Director-General of Health Services-Bangladesh, were also present. All the new Programme Directors and the Programme Managers of the new WHO biennial programme were present as well.

 At the outset, the WHO Representative presented an outline of the new two-year programme. The total programme budget has increased markedly due to larger inflows of external donor assistance, in addition to the WHO regular budget allocation for Bangladesh.  The total budget for 2008-09 stands at 52.5 million US dollars. Several new programme areas have been taken up in this 2008-09 biennium including the programme on Gender and Health Issues, Social Determinants of Health, and Knowledge Management.

 A new arrangement shall be in operation in the current biennium where eleven strategic objectives (SO) shall be pursued through the Ministries of Health & FW, Environment and Forests, and the Local Government Division. The SO shall henceforth replace the old mechanism of identifying programme areas by “areas of work”. The relevant Programme Directors/Line Directors will head the SO topics and sub-topics, and they will be responsible for monitoring of progress, removing bottlenecks and hurdles, and carrying out implementation in keeping with agreed timelines and milestones. Inaugurating the new biennial programme of WHO, the Health Secretary assured his Ministry’s best cooperation, and stressed on the need for speedy implementation and careful monitoring of progress, as per operational plans of different units within the Ministry of Health. He emphasized that evaluation and monitoring need to be done at quarterly intervals or even sooner, to ensure that hurdles are removed, and the pace of implementation remains satisfactory, as planned in the work-plan timetable. The WHO Representative thanked the Programme Managers and the Ministry for their strong commitment to WHO’s activity during the last biennium (2006-07) and their sincere efforts to maintain the momentum of programmatic activity. She made mention that many health indicators of Bangladesh have improved due to their hard work and spirit of close collaboration with WHO and other partners, and the pragmatic policies adopted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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