US$10 Million Loan in Additional Financing for Family Health Project in Nicaragua
WASHINGTON, February 24, 2014 – The World Bank (WB) Board of Directors approved a US$10 million additional loan for the “Improving Health Services for Family and Community Care” project, aimed at reinforcing preventive care and access to health services, mainly for children, pregnant and adolescent women in poor and vulnerable areas of Nicaragua.
The project has helped to increase the number of pregnant women receiving post-natal care, which have risen from a third in 2010 to almost half today. It has also achieved a 7 percent increase in the number of births attended by trained health staff in a medical institution, so that now attended births have reached 86.5 percent of the total. Moreover, 95 percent of all children are now being vaccinated while 65 percent of pregnant women are receiving pre-natal care, when that figure was 50 percent in 2010.
“Service delivery to the Nicaraguan population is based on the Family and Community Health Model, with collective strategies such as the creation of Maternal Houses, which have strengthened primary care and resulted in a reduction of maternal deaths and/or complications during childbirth. This is a strategy where women contribute, the community contributes and organizations contribute,” said Sonia Castro, Nicaragua’s Health Minister.
The project, which is being implemented by the Health Ministry, was approved in December 2010 with a total investment of US$21 million (a US$11 million donation and a US$10 million loan). With the additional financing, total investment will now reach US$31 million and is scheduled to end in September 2015.
Preventing adolescent pregnancy is one of the main challenges faced by the project, as 25 percent of all pregnancies in Nicaragua are of adolescents. To this end, it will work on communication and educational activities aimed at this segment of the population.
“Our contribution allows us to finance not just activities in the health sector, but to go beyond them, becoming a contribution to the comprehensive family care system. Health-related activities are intertwined with the family and educational areas through Government inter-institutional coordinating initiatives, which has resulted in changes to the way social services are offered in Nicaragua,” explained Camille Nuamah, WB Resident Representative in Nicaragua.
Other project objectives include:
- Strengthening the Health Ministry’s operational capacities through the rehabilitation of health centers and the continuous training of health staff.
- Strengthen the cervical cancer prevention program with equipment from the detection and treatment network, as well as with specialized training for health professionals.
Since its inception, the project has covered 32 municipalities belonging to the Local Comprehensive Health Care System (SILAIS, in Spanish) in Chinandega, Leon, Managua, Boaco, Chontales, the South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS), Rio San Juan and the Alto Wangki and Bocay indigenous territories. With this additional financing, the project will provide coverage to 34 additional municipalities, totaling 63 of the country’s 153 municipalities.
Through this project, health care centers in these regions have benefited from medical equipment maintenance and repairs, as well as the provision of medical instruments. Part of these acquisitions include minor surgery equipment, infantometers, pediatric beds and 16 ambulances. Furthermore, some second-tier hospitals have received operational support equipment such as electric generators, washers, driers and industrial kitchens.
The US$10 million additional loan for the “Improving Health Services for Family and Community Care” project is provided by the International Development Association (IDA) with a 40-year maturity period, including a 10-year grace period.