WASHINGTON, June 29, 2010— The World Bank has approved a US$100 million credit for Kenya to improve the delivery of essential health services to its people, especially the poor.
The Kenya Health Sector Support Project, approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today, will support the Kenya government’s efforts to strengthen basic health services and enhance the planning, financing and procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.
“The Bank’s support to Kenya’s health sector will help increase the access of Kenyans to basic health services,” said Johannes Zutt, the Country Director for Kenya. “This Project will improve the governance of health service delivery, increase the flow of resources to local health facilities, and enhance social equity.”
The Project will support decentralized health services by financing 4,000 health centers and dispensaries to improve the quality of services provided, with greater social accountability, transparency and information dissemination. It will also help Kenya attain the health-related Millennium Development Goals, and is framed within Kenya’s Vision 2030 social pillar and the Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy, which was approved by the Board in April 2010.
Kenya has achieved significant health gains since 2003, with reduced mortality rates and increased life expectancy. But serious challenges remain to be addressed. These include severe inequities in health status and access to services, weak governance, poor flows of funds to the periphery, and disruptions in supplies of commodities. In response, a sector wide approach (SWAp) framework has been developed for the sector, and the Government has embarked on a reform program to improve service delivery.
“The Government and the development partners are working together in the SWAp to strengthen the delivery of essential services at the local level and to increase the availability of essential supplies,” said Mark Bor, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. “This Project also supports further capacity development, increases the harmonization of external support, and takes forward our ongoing efforts to reduce risks and ensure that resources are well used in the health sector.”
Other partners in the Project include the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the German Development Cooperation.
The new Project signals the Bank’s increased re-engagement in Kenya’s health sector since the closure of the Decentralized Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS Project in 2005. In May 2010, the Board also approved the East Africa Public Health Laboratory Networking Project—a US$63.66 million project that promotes networking of 25 health laboratories to improve diagnostic services in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda
The new health sector credit was approved on standard International Development Association (IDA) terms that include a repayment period of 40 years, including a 10-year grace period.