Ensuring access to quality reproductive health and family planning services is fundamental to human development results and is a top priority in the Bank’s 2007 Healthy Development strategy.
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WASHINGTON, December 18, 2014—The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved US$170.2 million for women and adolescent girls to expand their access to reproductive, child and... Show More + maternal health services in five countries in Africa’s Sahel region and the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS).The Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend Project will also help promote regional knowledge and data on proven gender development programs.To end poverty across Africa and promote greater prosperity for families, we know that the answer involves improved access to health services for women and educating adolescent girls,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region. “Meeting these objectives is even more critical for countries in the Sahel, which have some of the world’s highest birth rates. Improving access to maternal and child health, and family planning services, will create more economic opportunities for women and girls in the region.”Today’s approval comes one year after World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim visited the Sahel with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and pledged $1.5 billion for regional development priorities such as social safety nets to help families weather the worst effects of economic adversity and natural disasters, infrastructure development and creating increased economic opportunities for families living in rural areas.Africa’s Sahel region suffers from multiple development challenges: too little economic growth and opportunity, a harsh climate, hunger, high fertility rates, and the world’s highest number of maternal and child deaths.The Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend Project will work across the sub-region to improve the availability and affordability of reproductive health services, strengthen specialized training centers for rural-based midwives, improve nursing services, and pilot and share knowledge on adolescent girls’ initiatives.“High fertility, rapid population growth and poor health services are preventing Sahelian countries from taking advantage of their demographic dividend which could bring greater prosperity. This project supports a much-needed multi-sectoral approach to women and girls’ empowerment and their access to health services. It will work across borders to help overcome barriers to empowering women and girls, and give them the tools to shape their own future,” said Christophe Lemière, Task Team Leader for the project. Empowering women and girls means helping them to continue their education, improving their knowledge of Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health and Nutrition, and increasing the number of young women who participate in life-skills programs. Combined, these interventions can reduce fertility rates and child marriage, all factors that contribute to preventing women from prospering and formally contributing to economies, while also increasing demand for and access to family planning services.Financed by IDA, the WBG’s fund for the poorest countries*, the new program will be closely coordinated with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and other development partners, and will strengthen the West African Health Organization (WAHO), the health arm of ECOWAS, a regional group of 15 West African countries promoting economic integration across the region.From the WBG U$170.2-million program, Côte d’Ivoire will receive a US$20-million credit and US$10 million grant; Mali will receive a US$40-million credit; Niger will receive a US$53.5-million credit; Chad will receive a US$26.7-million grant; Mauritania will receive a US$15-million grant; and ECOWAS will receive a U$5-million grant.* 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. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, December 18, 2014—The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a total of U$226.5 million to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to strengthen its health systems t... Show More +o improve maternal and child health services. The project will also support an Ebola preparedness plan for DRC and enable the country to be better equipped to respond to anew Ebola outbreak. Economic growth in the DRC which has been impressive in recent years has not translated into achieving better health and other human development results.While infant mortality has fallen from 148 per thousand to 104 per thousand in the last five years, other challenges remain. For example, 43 percent of women are affected by domestic violence and poor access to health services. Almost half of all children under the age of five are malnourished. Fertility rate has increased from 6.3 to 6.6 with 7.4 in rural areas. Furthermore, despite having a large number of trained midwives and assisted deliveries being at 80 percent, the maternal mortality rate is very high at 846 deaths per 100,000 births, which suggests poor quality services“Increasing women and children’s access to improved and affordable health services by focusing on better governance and stronger health systems is a key priority for the government and an important element in our Country Assistance Strategy for the DRC,” said Jan Walliser, World Bank Acting Country Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Building the capacity to deliver quality neonatal and child health treatment is critical for poverty reduction in the country.”The government priority is to achieve universal health coverage targeting pregnant women and children under five and has mobilized all the technical and financial partners toward this goal. The World Bank has aligned its interventions along those of UNICEF, the Global Fund, GAVI and UNFPA with the aim that such collaborative approach will contribute towards the provision of an integrated package of services implemented offered to a larger portion of the population. According to Hadia Samaha, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the PDSS Project, “This alignment of development partners will contribute to strengthening the health system and will also improve use and quality of care as well as achieving better maternal and child health results.” The $130 million IDA* credit and $90 million IDA* grant along with the $6.5 million grant from the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund for the DRC Human Development Systems Strengthening for Better Maternal and Child Health Results Project (PDSS) will scale up Performance Based Financing (PBF) approach targetting about 23 percent of the population in four provinces (Equateur, Bandundu, Maniema, and Katanga). It is expected that this strategy will strengthen the quantity and quality of services and improve governance, transparency and accountability of the health system.Under the project, financial incentives will be provided for household visits to improve preventative care as well as improve social behaviors towards healthy choices. It will also focus on nutrition, HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases in addition to maternal and child health.The project will help DRC in its efforts to increase the country’s overall disease preparedness and to minimize the health risks from a new outbreak of Ebola. It will provide essential equipment, supplies, drugs and vehicles that are critical in ensuring that the country is prepared for an Ebola outbreak in DRC.“By financing an integrated package of services and strengthening the health systems in DRC the project will help improve the use and quality of health for women and children and also contribute to the overall level of emergency response preparedness, which is vital to counter communicable disease outbreaks such as Ebola,” said Samaha.* 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. Show Less -
Despite Bangladesh’s remarkable record in reducing poverty, the presence of high numbers of extremely poor people poses a daunting development challenge for the Government. Bangladesh has successfully... Show More + reduced child and maternal mortality, but the country still remains among the 10 countries with highest prevalence of malnutrition: 41% children below the age of 5 are stunted, according to the World Health Organization.Well targeted and implemented conditional cash transfers have a significant impact on reducing poverty and improving nutrition levels. To support this, the World Bank approved the US$300.00 million Income Support Program for the Poorest (ISPP) Project, along with two other projects on December 16, 2014. Based on the pilot initiative called ‘Shombhob’, ISPP aims to provide conditional cash transfers to the 600,000 poorest mothers with the objective of reducing their consumption poverty while improving their children's nutrition and cognitive development. The project will benefit 10% of the poorest, or 2.7 million people in 42 of the poorest Upazilas in the country. Challenge:Well-designed safety nets can improve child health and nutrition outcomes, while contributing to poverty reduction goals. The Government of Bangladesh currently spends over 14 percent of its budget on over 100 safety net programs. But only a negligible amount of the budget supports programs that aim to improve maternal and child nutrition and cognitive development.The Union Parishads (local governments) responsible for implementation of most social safety nets suffer from weak administration capacity. They do not receive any administrative budget for carrying out there activities. Nor do the ministries that implement various safety nets coordinate at the local union level. Thus setting up common administrative platforms at the union level for safety net beneficiary identification, enrolment, and payment can fill the critical gap in the implementation of social safety nets.Approach:Ensuring adequate nutrition prenatally and in the first two years of life helps to maximize a child’s intelligence and brain development. Cognitive development in the first five years of life is critically important to boosting the earning capacity of children when they grow up, and prevent poverty form being passed on to next generation. The ISPP will provide income support to the poorest mothers if they participate in activities aimed to improve their children's nutrition and cognitive development. The project will cover 42 poorest in Upazilas in Northern Bangladesh that lags behind in nutrition indicators.Pregnant women and mothers of children below 5 years from extremely poor households will be eligible to participate in the project. By fulfilling their responsibilities, the participating mothers will receive cash transfers electronically into their own post office accounts using smart cash cards. Mothers will receive payment for fulfilling the following co-responsibilities:i) pregnant mothers need to ensure four antenatal care visits;ii) mothers will be required to regularly monitor their child’s growth - height and weight; as well as attend child nutrition and development education sessions every month.Working with the local government division, the project will support local level government institutions to help implement these cash transfers. It will also improve the coordination among safety net programs at the local level by building common administrative platforms. For example, the project will help the Union Parishads to implement biometric-enabled enrolment and electronic cash payments.The project aims to break the cycle that binds poor children to poor nutrition and cognitive deficiencies that in turn prevent them from reaching their full potential as adults. Further, strong administrative systems at the local level will ensure safety nets are supporting the poor rural women to improve their financial inclusion and literacy, and thereby have a transformational impact on their empowerment.Desired Results:The project will provide conditional cash transfers to 600,000 of the poorest mothers for improving their children’s nutrition.Better monitoring of age wise growth and improved nutrition and cognitive development of children below the age of five belonging to participating poor households.The unions would maintain a single beneficiary registry of at least five safety net programs to ensure accurate monitoring of safety net beneficiaries.Introduction of smart cash card would ensure that the right person is receiving payment in the right amount. Show Less -
Along with the World Health Organization and others, the World Bank Group has developed plans to scale up collection of vital statistics. Marriage and divorce registrations will expand the ability of ... Show More +women and girls to own and inherit property, while birth and marriage registrations will help prevent early and forced marriage.The Bank Group is also housing a new Global Financing Facility for the Every Woman Every Child initiative, supporting countries as they institute universal registration of every pregnancy, birth, and death by 2030.“Data on maternal health needs to be properly recorded, so we can work with non-profit organizations and governments to improve and save lives. If you can get the data, you can save lives,” former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.”Some 100 developing countries lack functioning systems to track births, deaths, and marriages. An estimated 230 million children under age 5 have never had their births registered — half of them of girls, who typically face vastly broader constraints as a result of biased laws and social norms that make them more vulnerable to poverty. Providing legal proof of identity make it possible to obtain passports, open bank accounts, access loans, obtain drivers’ licenses, vote, go to school, or draw a pension.Data2X, housed at the United Nations Foundation and funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others, aims to advance gender equality by building partnerships to improve data collection and use to guide policy, leverage investments, and spur economic and social progress.It has identified 28 global gender data gaps that it is seeking to close across five domains: health, education, economic opportunities, political participation, and human security. Show Less -
The document also lays out four simple principles that countries can follow to design and implement successful ECD strategies:(i) prepare an ECD diagnostic and strategy;(ii) implement widely through c... Show More +oordination;(iii) create synergies and cost savings through integrated interventions; and(iv) monitor, evaluate, and scale up successful interventions. Show Less -