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World Bank-BOLIVIA: President Evo Morales: “Previously, the World Bank was our enemy; now it is our friend.”

May 12, 2014

The president inaugurated two health centers that were improved with World Bank support and that will benefit 40 indigenous communities.

Tacopaya, May 9, 2014–  At a crowded, festive ceremony for the opening of two expanded health centers in Tacopaya Municipality, located southeast of Cochabamba Department, Bolivian President Evo Morales thanked the World Bank for its support: “The World Bank no longer puts conditions on us, no longer blackmails us; now it gives us low-interest soft loans. The World Bank is here, in this remote place, supporting us with loans for health posts. Thank you World Bank. We recognize that the World Bank of recent times no longer has a mentality of conditions.”

The remodeling, expansion and equipping of the two health centers will benefit 40 indigenous communities in Tacopaya. Investments for improving these centers totaled approximately US$ 1 million, 85% of which came from the World Bank and the remaining 15% from the municipality. This effort is part of the Expanding Access to Reduce Health Inequities Project (APL III), whose main objective is to reduce maternal and child mortality and risk factors among the most vulnerable populations of Bolivia.

We can identify with the mission of improving the quality of life of the Bolivian population, and especially of Bolivia’s rural population; we are confident that this contribution, which we make together with the Municipality of Tacopaya and the central government, will significantly improve health indicators,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank resident representative in Bolivia.

The works to enhance both facilities will improve maternal health, outpatient care and general auxiliary services. Thanks to these improvements, patients will no longer have to transfer to the Capinota Hospital 88 kilometers away, or to the one in Quillacollo, 127 kilometers from Tacopaya.

Tacopaya is the second municipality in the country to have converted its “health posts” into “health centers” with improved health service delivery, especially in terms of the capacity of professional human resources.

Health Minister Juan Carlos Calvimontes reported that in Tacopaya, there is a doctor for every 1,200 inhabitants, which is optimal given that the World Health Organization recommends one physician for every 15,000 inhabitants.

“With this army of white coats in the Municipality, no disease is going to beat us,” the minister said. He also confirmed that the municipality is one of the few that has begun to apply intercultural policies between Western and traditional medicine. “The complementarity of these two medicines is very important and is mandated by law and decree. Law 1984, passed last December, accepts remedies of traditional medicine, which previously were not accepted. For example, if a grandfather is prescribed a traditional salve or mixture, the state will cover this expense of the traditional healer and he will be able to continue to make them.”

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/007/LAC