Vientiane, October 11, 2011— Today the Government of Lao PDR represented by the Vice Minister of Finance, H.E. Mme. Viengthong Siphandone and the World Bank, represented by Country Manager to the Lao PDR, Ms. Keiko Miwa, signed an additional financing grant agreement. The US$ 10 million funding comes from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) while US$ 2.4 million is co-financed from the Health Results Innovation Grants.
This financing boost, building on the achievements of the Health Services Improvement Project, will support the Government of Lao PDR to strengthen the health sector by providing better quality and access to basic health care services. The project will expand activities and improve effectiveness of health outcomes for the rural and poor, particularly women and children, in the five southern provinces of the country- Attapeu, Champasack, Salavan, Savanakhet, and Sekong.
The original Health Services Improvement project, has contributed to significant achievements in the health sector in Lao PDR. The quality and number of villagers from the remote areas, accessing health services have improved, while the number of maternal deliveries in health facilities has witnessed an increased rate. Furthermore, the project has provided trainings to nearly 4000 health providers and management team at central, provincial, district, and village level.
“This additional financing grant will scale up programs to reduce financial barriers to health services and contribute to human resources development. In particular, children under 5 in several targeted districts will receive an opportunity to access free health care services,” said Keiko Miwa, Country Manager of the World Bank Vientiane Office.
In addition to the IDA-grant, the 2.4 million co-financing from the Health Results Innovation Grants will apply specifically for Results-Based Financing (RBF) activities—financing based on verified outcomes and volume of services provided. At the same time, the RBF will be a financing mechanism to expand service coverage.
This additional financing was approved the by World Bank Board of Executive Directors in June 2011. The grant will cover program’s operational costs in the period of 2011 to 2014, focusing on improving quality and expanding health services coverage for poor women and children in rural and remote areas of Lao PDR.