The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to global trade, business, and education and is estimated to cost the world economy a staggering $1Trillion. The COVID-19 health crisis has disturbed the entire balance of supply and demand side of the market and has hampered the supply chain in most of the economy generating sectors. The economic consequences of the Covid-19 outbreak are tough to handle as the entire of the global supply chain has been interrupted due to worldwide transportation shutdown. Bangladesh is equally affected by this contagion.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis being declared as a pandemic in March 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), every country in the world has at least some restriction on travel, including enhanced border and biohazard controls. Bangladesh too has suspended non-essential international travel along with suspension of domestic flights. The global travel and tourism industry which was predicted to be worth over USD 700 billion in 2020 has been hit severely by the Covid pandemic and it is now forecasted to be USD 447 billion. While there will be a significant impact on the livelihood of workers in the formal economy, there can be no doubt that the tourism related informal sector will be hit even harder. In addition, Tourism Economics has predicted that in South Asian countries such as Bangladesh there will be a 30% decline in annual growth of inbound travel by regions, considering an 8-month impact period. Due to the Covid crisis hundreds of travel and tour companies are on the verge of closing temporarily or permanently and a significant number of small hotels, motels, resorts and restaurants are already shut down. With lockdown in effect across the whole country, tourism is the most badly hit sector.
Domestic tourism, which constituted a major component of tourism is Bangladesh is completely at a standstill. With international travel restriction likely to be continued in the near future, there is a possibility of no international tourists arriving in Bangladesh for a considerable period. As per studies conducted by Pacific Asia Travel association (PATA) Bangladesh chapter, there is a loss of 6 BDT billion in the aviation sector and 15 billion BDT in the hospitality sector.
Mitigative actions and responses by Government of Bangladesh (GoB)
In the initial stages, considering the current situation created by the pandemic and its subsequent effect on the rising number of jobs lost and salary cuts, the Hon. Prime Minister of Bangladesh announced a bailout/stimulus package of Tk 5,000 crore (equivalent of USD 0.6 billion) for export-oriented industries to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the country’s economy.
Further, Bangladesh has announced a USD 11.6 billion stimulus package to support the economy, with a primary focus on manufacturing and service sectors, agriculture and social safety nets. Within this package, the government has designated BDT 300 billion (approx. USD 3.5 billion) solely for banks to provide working capital loan facilities to affected industries such as tourism and an additional BDT 200 billion (approx. USD 2.4 billion) to bridge financing of the working capital of small and medium sized industries. The stimulus package even though commendable; are unlikely to prove aggressive enough to fight the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry in Bangladesh.
Way forward to address the crisis
IPE Global Ltd. has been entrusted to prepare the Tourism Master Plan for Bangladesh. The objective of the master plan is to provide a roadmap for sustainable tourism development in the country over the next 20 years. The master plan would be supplemented by short-term, medium term and long-term action plans which would act as the blueprint for the planned development of the tourist sites utilising country’s tourism resources. As such, the consultant team was engaged in site visits and stakeholder consultations in March 2020 having conducted stakeholders’ workshop in Dhaka as well as on-site.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the field work to be halted and owing to the subsequent lockdown the consultants too had to return to their respective countries.With baseline evaluations and analyses being in a very nascent stage, it was very challenging to assess the impact of Covid crisis on tourist projections and sectoral outcomes. It should also be acknowledged at this juncture that the aberrations caused in tourism trends due to the crisis would have a significant influence on forecasts and proposed scenarios.
In totality, most forecasts suggest it will take 3-7 years for tourism to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels, with some (e.g. IATA) suggesting that post-crisis growth will even accelerate, resulting in tourism overtaking the pre-crisis trajectory within 10 years. Hence, it is an opportunity for emerging economies like Bangladesh to tap into the new trends by not relying only on organic growth but focusing on those demand-led market segments in which it can add value and differentiate itself from comparable destinations. As an attempt to survive among the fittest, Bangladesh needs extensive capacity building programme and a well thought recovery plan to the upcoming changed demand in the future.
NIPI team facilitated and provided technical support to the NHM & Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir in successfully organizing a 5-day training across the UT.
To address the health crisis, Government of Jammu & Kashmir organized four virtual trainings wherein NIPI played a key role in facilitating of these trainings in coordination with National Health Mission.
Norway India Partnership (NIPI) is providing technical and programmatic support to the facility and state stakeholders in the process of certification through assessments, mentoring and monitoring visits to various facilities.
Vaccinating more than 12 crore, the population of Bihar, in a timely manner is a monumental task. NIPI is supporting Bihar in setting up of certain additional vaccination centers in-and-around Patna city to accelerate vaccination among eligible population.
The Government of Jammu & Kashmir, through its National Health Mission, has implemented many programs in maternal and child health amid the pandemic with NIPI team's support.
IPE Global is engaged in supporting WHO to carry out recruitment, pay-rolling, management and administration of fifty rapid response team members to support the Government of India in the ongoing COVID19 vaccination programme in the country.
UNICEF India has commissioned a Real Time Evaluation (RTE) to assess and improve the relevance, coverage, effectiveness, and efficiency of its COVID-19 crisis response in 5 Indian states, by providing immediate feedback and recommendations for improvement.
Education has changed drastically during the pandemic with the advancement of e-learning to offer students the much required digital exposure. The Government of Meghalaya has initiated online learning in the state as part of the learning campaign ‘Bharat Padhe Online' to mitigate the impact of the crisis in the education system.
Management of the crisis requires an integrated approach with an overarching strategy at the Central and sub-national levels. In response to the crisis, Smart Cities have stepped up to the task of sharing technical & technological resources to attain the larger goal of containing and reducing the impact of COVID-19.
The sudden onset of the global crisis has imposed restrictions on educational institutions across India resulting in the suspension of classrooms and initiation of online classes. As part of the response measure, Government of Meghalaya has introduced e-learning across the state to ensure uninterrupted learning process.
To support the strengthening of MoHFW's COVID-19 response, Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI), as a responsible development partner, provided technical & other programmatic support to various states & union territories of the country.
The team conducted holistic set of activities to reduce the impact of the pandemic. Activities included assessment of hospitals and health care facilities, training healthcare staff on infection control practices and ensuring effective and streamlined contact tracing to control and reduce the infection risk.
Tourism is a strategically significant sector in Sri Lanka and is the third-largest export earner. In an effort to revive the country's tourism infrastructure, the government is revising Sustainable Tourism Development Project (STDP) by generating a baseline of demand and supply data.
Putting staff safety first, project implementation slab a new normal. Practicing various precautionary measures, detailed guidelines for working from home, daily monitoring of work and extensive use of diverse digital platforms have been proposed to maintain social distancing norms and minimize physical contact.
The shutdown of all educational institutes in the country has impacted the entire education sector. In response, the Government has initiated strategies like the Meghalaya School Improvement Plan (MSIP) to continue the teaching-learning process throughout the state.
In response to the current crisis, Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) in collaboration with Health Information Service Provider (HISP) India created a COVID-19 dashboard for Jammu & Kashmir in compliance with MoHFW reporting requirements to provide real-time information about confirmed, active, recovered cases.
Over 1,200 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits were disseminated on urgent basis to Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir to bridge gaps emerging in regular supply chain being managed by the Health Department. The kits included disposable coverall, masks, gloves etc.
Due to the nature of the pandemic, educational institutions had to be closed to prevent its spread which led to the disruption of academic activities. In response, most of the schools in East Khasi Hills have sought to E-learning via applications like Google Classroom, NICE INFOTECH E-Scholar etc for uninterrupted learning.
COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges for public health. This campaign aim to raise social awareness for combating stigma; creating an enabling environment for people with symptoms to seek help and show solidarity, encouragement and support to all healthcare workers and sanitation staff in charge.
The disruption caused due to COVID-19 has compelled educational institutions across India, and the world to suspend physical classrooms and shift to online classes. In response to this crisis, Government of Meghalaya has been implementing online education across the state to ensure smooth progression of the learning cycle.
In response to the current pandemic, an unexpected result of the partnership between Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) and Wadhwani Institute, a nonprofit organization has been the development of a triaging tool for detecting COVID-19 suspect cases in Indian states.
The current Covid-19 crisis poses a serious public health threat. Swamped with information, often it becomes hard to follow the right advice. Realizing the gravity of the challenges, health experts address apprehensions related to Covid-19!
A much needed session on Adolescent Mental Health! The esteemed panelists include Dr. Sanjay Chugh, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, M.D. (Psychiatry), M.B.B.S. & Dr. Vijay Datta, Principal, Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi and the event will be moderated by Mr. Yogi Suri, Publisher, Milap Publications.
HCL Foundation’s flagship program HCL Samuday, today announced its partnership with SAMRIDH (Sustainable Access to Markets and Resources for Innovative Delivery of Healthcare) to scale up its existing healthcare interventions in Uttar Pradesh. SAMRIDH is an innovative financing platform supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by IPE Global.
The Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) aims to help identify and test novel and promising healthcare solutions in its effort to support State National Health Missions of five states in India: Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir. As an unexpected yet result of this partnership has been the development of a triaging tool for detecting COVID-19 suspect cases.
Working in the community, the team is working with commitment for corona warriors and is also facilitating the access of ration, food packets etc. among the labourers. The project is aimed at helping Rajasthan Urban Sector Development Programme in consultations and public awareness.
According to UN agencies, since the outbreak of COVID-19, violence (sexual and physical) against women/ girls has intensified. Globally, in the last one year, 243 million women and girls have been subjected to sexual and physical violence.
Health and well being are of utmost importance now and the pandemic has impacted physical & mental health of the population at large. The primary findings from this study suggest that strengthening health care with special mental health services, developing support groups/peer counseling services are the key to achieving a happy & healthy life.
To address the stigma attached to Covid-19 patients, MoHFW invited development partners including Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) for technical and programmatic support. In consensus with development partners, MOHFW identified the National Anti-stigma and Discrimination Campaign as a key strategy.
Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform (SPHEIR) is DFID’s flagship intervention in higher education. Due to the unprecedented changes caused by COVID-19, the team with support of SPHEIR has designed a tool for students & lecturers to provide brief reflections on their learning experiences, change in teaching practices with an aim to gain qualitative insights from individual perspectives.
Misinformation and hesitancy towards COVID-19 vaccination have been reported as two main factors impacting the pace of vaccination in India. However, the six districts of Rajasthan have a different story to tell with re-opening of Skilling centres after the second lockdown.
IPE CKD with UNDP has developed a swipe-based game - a first in a series of three games which helps in reinforcing behaviour change communication to fight COVID-19. Available in 7 Indian languages (Hindi, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telegu, Bangla) & 5 International languages (English, French, Portuguese, Arabic,Tetum), the game tracks user response and sends relevant messages.
COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all segments of the population and is proving detrimental to the global economy. To mitigate its impact, the team is planning to undertake three case studies across two countries in response to the pandemic while identifying and considering country-wise scenario planning, assessing budget implications and conducting detailed risk assessment.
In the current situation where the globe is struck with a pandemic, as part of response measure, Partnerships for Affordable Healthcare Access and Longevity (PAHAL) team is supporting the National Health Authority (NHA) in mobilizing Corporate TB Pledge members to additionally work in COVID- 19 affected areas.
Team engaged in providing operational and administrative support to combat the pandemic in the city which includes preparation of standard operating procedures coupled with data monitoring.
COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all segments of the population and is proving detrimental to the socio-economic construct of our country. It is critical to building societies supported by a new policy framework with adequate resources for social security to overcome the loss of livelihoods and check any social unrest.
COVID-19 is posing an existential crisis and disruption and the world is facing a threat unlike any other that is impacting our livelihoods, economies and well-being. Entrepreneurs have also been impacted largely as a result of the crisis, specifically women entrepreneurs and their business ventures.
Improving the health of mothers & children is a priority of National Health Mission especially during the pandemic. NIPI is supporting Bihar to achieve LaQshya certification by sharing plans for improvement with the facilities.
An update on the crisis shared by our health team that leverages existing state and district level assignment to integrate COVID-19 response measures. The team is conducting set of activities such as strengthening infection prevention control, increasing precautions, tracking cases and mitigating the infection risk.
At a time when front-line workers like Anganwadi workers (AWW) in Odisha are continuing to work hard during times of a national lockdown, our community led campaign facilitates the front-line to help them continue to work hard during the lockdown and leverage technology when field visits are not a possibility.
Like most of the states in India, Madhya Pradesh too is facing challenges with managing and the spread of COVID-19. The team is managing and controlling the spread of the virus by tracking newly reported cases.
A webinar on food security and sustainability in the time of COVID-19 with its prospects & challenges was conducted. The webinar focused on some important information about food security during the pandemic.
Amidst the virus, technology has emerged as a game changer at the public and private sector. From virtual tools to e-discussion, a multi-dimensional “out of box” approach is the need of the hour.
Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI) has been commissioned as the technical partner of Government of India's National and State task force committees for monitoring COVID-19 vaccination related activities.
COVID-19 has presented a situation where the need for communication is important. Amidst this, a specific cadre of Nutrition workers under the RajPusht project are ensuring to help create awareness during the pandemic.