Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The Japan government will provide nearly US$ 65 million worth of credit for development of the health sector in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh government signed a loan deal on Wednesday in the capital Dhaka with the Japanese donor – Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in this connection.

Senior Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) Iqbal Mahmood, Japanese ambassador in Bangladesh Shiro Sadoshima and Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh Dr Takao Toda signed the agreement.

The Japanese 5.04 billion yen of ODA loan will be utilized for checking maternal and neonatal mortality and improving child health under the Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Program (HPNSDP) of the health and family welfare ministry.

The aid will be spent to finance trainings and the upgrade of the facilities and equipment related to Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH).

JICA said within the five-year period of the BDT 569.94 billion HPNSDP, it is expected that child mortality will be cut to 31 in every 1,000 births and maternal mortality to 144 in every 100,000 births.

Some other development partners including World Bank and Asian Development Bank are also financing the program.

The government has to repay the loan to JICA at a 0.01 percent rate in 40 years inclusive of a 10-year grace period.

BBN/SSR/AD-26Jan12-1:30 am (BST)