WASHINGTON, May 8, 2014 — The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a EUR75 million (US$103.5 million) loan to the Republic of Croatia for the Improving the Quality and Efficiency of Health Services Program for Results, which will be implemented by the Ministry of Health, the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance, the Agency for Quality and Accreditation in Health Care and Social Welfare, and overseen by the Ministry of Finance.
This new health sector Program aims to improve the access, quality, and efficiency of public health services by strengthening management capacity in health care, reorganizing the structure and activities of health care institutions, improving the quality of health care, strengthening preventative activities, and preserving the financial sustainability of the system.
The Program supports the Government of Croatia’s 2012-2020 National Health Care Strategy, which identifies the strategic problems and reform priorities for the health care sector. These are: (i) poor connectivity and insufficient continuity of health care across all levels of the system (primary, secondary, and tertiary); (ii) uneven quality of care; (iii) inadequate efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system; (iv) poor and uneven availability of health care across regions; and (v) relatively poor health indicators, particularly those related to risk factor and health behaviors.
Croatia has achieved progress in improving the health system’s performance in terms of health outcomes and public satisfaction over the last twenty years. However, such results come at a high cost. Croatia spends 7.8 percent of its GDP on health, which puts Croatia at the top of the list compared to new EU members. In this fiscally-constrained environment, the Croatian health system faces a mismatch among available public resources, growing expenditures, and increasing needs due to the demographic and epidemiological changes in the country.
“We are very pleased to support the Croatian Government with a Program that will focus on results and will also contribute to Croatia’s health goals by increasing access to a higher quality of health care services, especially for the poorest segment of the population, and by supporting a more equitable allocation of available resources for health,” said Mamta Murthi, World Bank Regional Director for Central Europe and the Baltic Countries.
The Euro denominated loan is a Program for Result operation supported by a Flexible Loan for EUR, plus fixed spread, with 20-year maturity, including a 4-year grace period.
Since joining the World Bank in 1993, Croatia has benefited from financial and technical assistance, policy advice, and analytical services provided by the global development institution. To date, the World Bank has supported 51 operations amounting to around US$3.5 billion, and approved 52 grants with a total value of US$70 million.