WASHINGTON, November 25, 2014- The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $US70 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit to help Cote d’Ivoire improve deployment and quality of health services in selected regions, with a focus on maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services.
Today’s financing will support the Health Systems Strengthening and Ebola Preparedness project and part of the funds ($10.0 million) is aimed at promoting Cote d’Ivoire’s pro-active measures to prevent the spread of Ebola.
Recent political and social crises have taken a heavy toll on the country’s health system. During 2002-2010, most of the health centers were closed in the central and northern part of the country (over 52% of health centers nationally), and only Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) facilities remained open. Following the electoral crisis of 2011-2012, all health centers in the western part of the country and in the city of Abidjan (the communes of Yopougon and Abobo) were closed. Nationwide many hospitals and health centers were looted and remain in dire shape. “The country health system has particularly suffered during the ten years of crisis and instability Cote d' Ivoire experienced. Investments in the sector were slow and insufficient. As results access to, and quality of services have deteriorated. This project will complement the Country ongoing efforts to address those challenges,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Country Director for Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Burkina Faso, Benin and Guinea.
In recent months, the Ebola outbreak in neighboring countries of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone have been of great concern, especially since there is over 800 miles of border between Côte d'Ivoire and both Guinea and Liberia, and the epicenter of the epidemic is in the eastern part of these countries--near Cote d’Ivoire’s western border.
“So far, the Ivorian Ebola response plan has been working efficiently, with no recorded case. However, continuous support to Cote d' Ivoire remains essential to help the Country respond effectively in case of necessity” said Mr. Diagana.
According to Dominic S. Haazen, Lead Health Policy Specialist and TTL of the project : “ In addition to the specific funding to improve Ebola preparedness, the project also addresses a number of the barriers to the effective utilization of health services in the country, including access, availability, acceptability and affordability. Different interventions will address each of these barriers, in a mutually supportive way”
The project will benefit those covered by either the Performance Based Program (PBF) or the Ivoirian Universal Health Coverage (CMU) interventions. The PBF program is expected to help approximately 2.5 million people with a strong focus on women and children. The CMU interventions will help an estimated 200,000 poor people and provide them with free health insurance.
For the Ebola preparedness activities, the potential beneficiaries include the entire population, although it is hoped that there will be few, if any, cases.
The Government of Cote d’Ivoire has developed a National Health Policy, which is accompanied by a National Health Development Plan (PNDS) covering the 4-year period, 2012-2015. Its main goal is to guarantee access to quality health care for all citizens, especially the most vulnerable.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans 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 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa