The government has approved spending of Taka 4,236.43 crore to procure, transport, and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
The approval was given at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from her official residence at Ganabhaban in Dhaka.
Ministers, state ministers and secretaries concerned joined the meeting from the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.
Of the approved six projects, three are new, while three others are revised ones.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said a total of six projects were approved involving Taka 9,569.23 crore.
“Of the total project cost, Taka 3,867.58 crore will come from the government of Bangladesh while the rest Taka 5,701.65 crore as project assistance,” he added.
The planning minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself gives utmost priority to successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve sufficient fund supply…..the arrangements for storing of vaccines at district and upazila levels have also been ensured. We’re ready and we believe that we’ll get the vaccines on time,” he added.
The planning minister also mentioned that round-the-clock monitoring would be ensured so that there is no mismanagement over the price of vaccines. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will closely monitor so that none can get indulge in any wrongdoing over purchasing vaccines.”
Speaking at the press briefing, Planning Commission member Abul Kalam Azad said the frontline workers including health workers, law enforcement agenies’ personnel, and media personnel would get vaccines on priority basis.
He said the government aims to vaccinate some 13.76 crore people in the country. The people aged below 18 would not be brought under the vaccination programme except certain reasons.
The Planning Commission member said the initial cost of the project was Taka 1,127 crore when it was approved in April last year, while the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) as the executing agency has so far spent Taka 115 crore.
Narrating the details of the project on COVID-19, Abul Kalam Azad said apart from procuring, preserving and distributing COVID-19 vaccines, the other major project operations include installing modern microbiology laboratories alongside PCR machines at 27 medical college and hospitals in the country.
Besides, RT-PCR kits, antigen kits and health safety kits will also be procured under the project. Biosafety Level-3 Labs will be set up at IEDCR and Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (BITID), Chattogram.
Azad informed that 10-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 20-bed Isolation Units would be set up at 43 district sadar hospitals.
The other major project operations include setting up 10-bed ICU units at 10 medical colleges and hospitals and five-bed ICU units at infectious disease hospitals in Dhaka and Chattogram, setting up seven medical screening units at five port of entries, setting up infectious disease units at 27 medical colleges and hospitals, setting up Infection Prevention and Control Units at 62 district hospitals, setting up medical waste management plants at 10 medical college hospitals and 10 district hospitals, installing central liquid medical oxygen system at 30 government hospitals.
Azad informed that the World Bank would provide $500 million, while the AIIB $100 million for implementing the project.