WASHINGTON, May 13, 2014 — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$25.5 million Kosovo Health Project to improve financial protection from health spending for the poor, and quality of care for priority maternal and child health and non-communicable disease services in Kosovo.
“Kosovo has some of the worst health outcomes in Europe,” says Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director and Regional Coordinator for Southeastern Europe. “The World Bank is pleased to be able to contribute to trying to change that.”
Life expectancy at birth in Kosovo is 70.2 years, which is ten years lower than the European Union (EU) average of 80.2 years. Total health expenditure and the health share of the government budget in Kosovo are low relative to regional and GDP per capita comparators, indicating the need to increase public spending on health. Partly as a result of limited public spending on health, out-of-pocket spending is high and contributes to impoverishment.
The project will support the Government’s health sector reform strategy and agenda. The initiated mandatory health insurance reform has the potential to transform the Kosovar health sector by raising more revenues for the health sector, and presents an opportunity for reforms to improve both quality of care and the efficiency with which the limited resources are used.
The approved project will support the Ministry of Health and future Health Insurance Fund in introducing and implementing health insurance and other reforms to improve the quality of primary health care services. In order to improve quality of care, the project will also finance, among others, investments in priority maternal and child health equipment for primary care facilities and hospitals, and information systems investments so that health sector data can inform decision-making and oversight in Kosovo.
The poor in Kosovo will be a specific beneficiary group for the project since the poor will be exempted from health insurance contributions, as well as any cost-sharing for health care or drugs covered under the new legislation. Municipalities, health facilities, and providers at these facilities would also benefit from capacity-building and other support provided under the project.
The project will be implemented over a period of five years. The Ministry of Health of Kosovo will be responsible for the technical implementation of the proposed project.