More than 5 lakh poor families have been provided with health and nutrition services under a project backed by the European Union.
The project titled "European Union Support to Health and Nutrition to the Poor in Urban Bangladesh", has been implemented in Dhaka North, Dhaka South, Chattogram and Mymensingh city corporations, and 329 municipalities of the country.
Health and nutrition services were provided to over 4.75 lakh families through three non-governmental organisations and voucher cards were issued to nearly 1.18 lakh families. The families were provided with health services through the voucher cards.
Speaking at a workshop organised to mark the closing of the project on Thursday, Mustakim Billah Faruqui, project director and additional secretary of the Local Government Division, said, "Through this project, we have trained 3,612 people's representatives from 293 municipalities on providing health services."
Against an allocation of Tk250 crore, Tk185.59 crore was spent on the project which ran from January 2015 to 30 September 2021.
Of the cost, Tk3.73 crore came from the government, Tk164.19 crore from the European Union, and Tk17.67 crore from other sources.
At the closing ceremony, LGRD Minister Md Tazul Islam said the government is working to strengthen the municipalities.
"Chief executive officers have already been appointed in some municipalities. Besides, there is a manpower crisis in some of the institutions. Municipalities will be able to overcome their crisis within the next two years," he added.
The minister said although the quality of health services in urban areas is better than in rural areas, the quality of health services in municipalities has not increased.
"A lack of manpower is one of the reasons for the poor quality of services in municipalities and city corporations. These institutions need to increase their financial capacity so that they can provide civic services on their own," he added.
Regarding the completion of the project, the minister said some important decisions have already been taken on health management in urban areas.
"The knowledge gained from this project should be used later and work should be done in the future," he added.
Chaired by Local Government Additional Secretary Moran Kumar Chakraborty, Senior Secretary of the Health Services Division Lokman Hossain Miah and Maurizio Cian, the Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, among others, spoke at the programme.