250 million ways to fight the pandemic

EIB, Luxembourg and Bangladesh join forces to combat coronavirus and boost country-wide Covid-19 immunization in Bangladesh

March 20, 2022

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank of the European Union and the largest multilateral lender in the world, will provide €250 million to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh via EIB Global to support procurement of safe and effective vaccines and country-wide immunisation against Covid-19. Vaccination efforts will also include displaced Rohingya people from Myanmar currently hosted in Bangladesh.

The news was officially announced on Wednesday, March 16 at a live-streamed press event, attended Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank (EIB); Christian Kettel Thomsen, Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB); Franz Fayot, Luxembourg’s Minister for Development Cooperation; H.E. Mahbub Hassan Saleh, Ambassador of Bangladesh in Brussels; Runa Khan, Founder, Friendship; and Marc Elvinger, Chair of Friendship Luxembourg.

The delegation at the event, with the EIB president at the head of the table

The financing will help Bangladesh to mitigate the health effects of the coronavirus pandemic and enable the country to strengthen its healthcare system and protect its people from Covid-19 with effective vaccines. These are all key preconditions for continued sustainable economic and social growth.

Luxembourg supports the development of Bangladesh’s health system since many years by financing the Special-Purpose Organisation, Friendship which operates medical stations across the country and supports Bangladesh in its vaccination campaign. Friendship is particularly engaged in the Jamuna/Brahmaputra river areas in the north of Bangladesh and in the costal belt in the south. The organisation promotes vaccination through an information and awareness campaign and provides logistical support in its roll-out, such as the registration of patients and the assistance in their transportation to vaccination centers.

EIB President Werner Hoyer speaking at the event

EIB President Werner Hoyer said, “we very much welcome this partnership and the real impact it’s having on people’s lives. This is the perfect example of partnerships that EIB Global is increasingly promoting around the world to make a difference where it is most needed. Working with other EU organisations, countries, and partners as part of Team Europe increases our impact on the ground especially when it comes to global challenges like the Covid pandemic, climate change or food security.”

“Efforts by the different players in Bangladesh have combined and helped us achieve remarkable feats in its vaccination. Despite local socio-economic challenges, over 70% of the Bangladeshi population of about 170 million people have received the first dose within months since the beginning of the vaccination, and more than half of the population have taken the second jab. You would be impressed to know that on 26th Feb this year, just 2.5 weeks back, 11 million people were vaccinated on that very day. In one day,” Ambassador of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to the European Union, H.E. Mahbub Hassan Saleh, said.

Runa Khan, founder, Friendship

Speaking at the event, Runa Khan, founder, Friendship said, “With our programmes and actions in Bangladesh throughout the last two years, and with the support of the Government of Bangladesh, the Government of Luxembourg and our partners and friends throughout Europe, we are able to support the people of Bangladesh in the field and on the ground and share the faith and hope with them that our actions will make a difference to the lives of the people we serve. If we do not empower people, the real work does not happen when disaster strikes.” Adding to her comments, Marc Elvinger, Chair of Friendship Luxembourg said, “our job is to fill the gaps to make sure that everyone has access to the vaccines.”

The global pandemic is now in its third year, with multiple resurgences scattered through that timeline in different countries. The vaccines are the primary tool in finally bringing the situation to an end, and establishing liveable circumstances where people can resume their normal lives without the looming threat of catching a deadly disease. People need to have the confidence that they are protected, and this partnership will go a long way in assuring that for Bangladesh.

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