Record Swedish aid award to Bangladesh

The Swedish government said on Monday that it would provide Bangladesh with a record 500 million kronor in aid for its healthcare system, with stress on the need to improve the lot of women.

“It is absolutely necessary to seriously increase the efforts to improve health in Bangladesh. It is important to create the conditions that allow poor people to improve their living situation,” said Anna-Kari Bill, a case worker at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida.

The agency said the aid contribution was the largest it had ever decided on.

“The goal is for this large-scale initiative to reach groups in Bangladesh that today have the least access to healthcare: poor people and village residents,” Sida said in a statement.

Helping women and young girls receive adequate healthcare would also be a particular focus of the initiative, the agency said, adding that women’s health in Bangladesh “is clearly worse than men’s”.

“Now, we will work on equality strategies, healthcare workers will be educated and there will be a focus on initiatives for reproductive health. This will lead to a significant improvement in the possibilities women have of gaining access to relevant healthcare,” Bill said.