PRESS RELEASE May 21, 2018

World Bank Supports Expansion of Public Health to Benefit 15 Million Argentines

WASHINGTON, May 21th, 2018 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved on Friday a new US$300 million project to support Argentina strengthen its efforts to protect the most vulnerable populations with expansion of public health coverage, promoting more equitable access to health services for 15 million people.

The Effective Universal Health Coverage Support Project seeks to provide comprehensive, individualized health care to those lacking coverage in an effort to improve their quality of life.

“This project is a great opportunity for the country to move towards universal health coverage, allowing us to expand coverage to the most vulnerable populations, to reduce inequality and promote primary care through territorial coverage with family health teams and care networks,” said Adolfo Rubinstein, Argentina’s Health Minister.

One of the key challenges that the project will address is inequality in the delivery of sanitary services.  For example, 70 percent of women aged 50-70 have had a mammography in Buenos Aires, while in the northwest and northeast of the country that figure is only 46 percent.

“It is important to support the most vulnerable so that they can enjoy better health regardless of where they live or work, this is why we are working with the Government in its effort to provide more equitable and higher quality health services throughout the country,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The project focuses in two areas:

  • Strengthen effective universal health coverage: It seeks to expand equitable coverage of quality health services across the country, including both general practice as well as complex procedures (such as congenital heart disease and premature and high-risk births).
  • Increase coordination and develop an integrated system between Argentina’s Ministry of Health and provincial ministries, as well as between health sub-systems (public health, social security and private companies). It will also support ministries with equipment, services and tech innovations (such as telemedicine tools, e-registries, etc.), in order to improve their service provision.

Since 2004, the World Bank has supported the Argentine government’s health programs with the goal of reaching universal effective coverage. The Plan Nacer program, for example, predecessor to the Sumar Program, improved service provision among pregnant women living in the country’s poorest regions. An impact evaluation of this project showed that babies born to mothers registered in the Plan were 19 percent less likely to be born underweight. Moreover, babies born to mothers in the Plan were 74 percent less likely to suffer neonatal death, according to a study of maternity wards in a subset of provinces.

Financing for the “Effective Universal Health Coverage Support Project” has a variable margin, a 31.5-year maturity period and a 7-year grace period.

This project reaffirms the World Bank commitment to Argentina and, above all, to the most vulnerable populations.

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PRESS RELEASE NO: 169

Contacts

Buenos Aires
Kelly Alderson
(54) 11-43169724
kalderson@worldbank.org
Washington
Anahí Rama
+1-202-473-5863
aramamartinez@worldbank.org
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