February 9, 2015 / 2:30 PM / 5 years ago

Bangladesh to get $300-million World Bank loan for child health

A woman eats food with her child as she breaks her fast by the river Buriganga in Dhaka in this file photo taken on July 2, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh is to get a $300-million loan from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) to help improve child nutrition after a deal was signed on Monday.

The project will provide financial help to about 600,000 of the country’s poorest mothers.

“The project will help poor mothers learn how to improve the nutrition of their young children and also provide an income supplement to enable them to better act on that learning,” said Johannes Zutt, the World Bank’s country director for Bangladesh.

Despite Bangladesh’s record of reducing child mortality, it remains among the 10 countries with the highest prevalence of malnutrition and 41 percent of children below the age of 5 have stunted growth, according to the World Health Organization.

The project will cover 42 of the poorest sub-districts in northern Bangladesh that lag behind in nutrition indicators and is expected to benefit 2.7 million people.

“The project will break the cycle that binds poor children to poor nutrition and cognitive deficiencies,” said Mohammad Mejbahuddin, senior secretary in the Finance Ministry.

The IDA credit has a 38-year term, including a 6-year grace period, and a service charge of 0.75 percent.

Reporting By Serajul Quadir; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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