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Health Sector in Benin: Additional Financing to Improve Access to and the Quality of Malaria Treatment for the Most Vulnerable

March 15, 2012

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2012 – The World Bank’s Executive Board today approved a supplemental grant for the Republic of Benin in the amount of US$10 million (approximately CFAF 5 billion) aimed at ramping up efforts already underway in the context of the Health System Performance Project [Projet de Renforcement de la Performance du Système de Santé PRPSS].

The initial PRPSS project, supported by a World Bank IDA* grant of US$33.8 million (US$11 million of which was provided by multi-donor funds), was launched in 2011, with the main objectives of helping expand the provision of high-quality maternal and neonatal health services in Benin and building the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Health.  More specifically, the grant targeted improvement of (i) the quality and use of maternal and neonatal health services in Benin’s health districts; and (ii) the capacity of the Ministry of Health to better allocate state financing to health zones and facilities and to facilitate the implementation of a sectoral approach in the future. The PRPSS, currently being implemented, has three components: (i) improving the performance of health facilities; (ii) improving financial accessibility; and (iii) providing technical assistance for institutional capacity building.

The supplemental grant, approved today, is intended to support the activities included in components (i) and (ii), so as to improve financial accessibility to health services.  More specifically, it will assist with the implementation of the Free Malaria Care Initiative [Initiative de Gratuité de la Prise en Charge du Paludisme IGPECP] launched by the Government of Benin in October 2011, which targets pregnant women and children under age five. The additional resources provided by the World Bank will also be used to support three major activities, namely, financing the products or inputs needed to diagnose and treat malaria, such as artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs), and treatment kits.  The supplemental grant will also use the performance-based financing (PBF) system currently in place to encourage health facilities to provide free and quality care, through payments based on actual results in this area. Lastly, the supplemental grant will fund IGPECP-related communication, information, and training activities at the national level.

Mr. Madani M. Tall, the World Bank Country Director for Benin, who was pleased with this action taken by the Executive Board, stated: “By assisting with the funding of free malaria diagnosis and treatment for vulnerable groups, this PRPSS supplemental grant will expand access to care in Benin.  It therefore supplements the World Bank’s various activities to support Benin’s new Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS 2011-2015) in the area of developing human capital.  We therefore call on all project stakeholders to make the necessary effort to achieve the objectives set.”

With this additional financing, the total project amount stands at US$43.8 million or approximately slightly more than CFAF 21 billion.

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