WASHINGTON, April 11, 2013 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a total of US$16 million to help Lesotho save the lives of mothers and newborn infants, especially those living in hard-to-reach areas of the mountain kingdom with very limited access to good health services.
The new Maternal and Newborn Health Performance-Based Financing Project is expected to cover an extended population of over 1.2 million people over a period of four years.
The credit of US$12 million from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA)*, with a grant of US$4 million from the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund, supported by the UK and Norway, will be used to introduce innovative financing for health facilities in Leribe and Quthing districts in the first year, with expansion to other districts in subsequent years.
Under the new project, health facilities and personnel will receive financial incentives to meet pre-agreed and independently verified results, such as numbers of women receiving antenatal care during pregnancy and delivering babies in a health facility rather than at home. The new performance-based incentives will also cover malnutrition, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
Notably, the project will offer “remoteness bonuses” for health facilities in particularly remote areas, often accessible only on foot over difficult mountain paths, to encourage people to use these facilities and to retain quality staff.
“We are helping Lesotho to tackle health issues that need the most urgent attention, while helping to strengthen the overall health system,” said Kanako Yamashita-Allen, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “Major challenges such as high maternal mortality and widespread HIV infection are being tackled simultaneously by changing the way the health system delivers services to people.”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.