China: 7 million in Chongqing to benefit from access to better health services

June 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2012 - Today the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a loan of US$100 million to the People’s Republic of China to improve access to quality health services in the local proximity for about seven million residents in non-urban areas of Chongqing Municipality.

Like the rest of the country, rural-urban disparities exist in access to and quality of health services in Chongqing.  Disproportionate distribution of hospital resources and shortage of qualified health workers has led to low accessibility and poor quality of health services in the non-urban areas, which is compounded by inadequate financial protection of households and a fragmented health service delivery system.

The Chongqing Urban Rural Integration Project II – Health aims to improve the access to and the quality of health service at district and county level with a focus on county hospitals.  The project comprises two major components – strengthening service delivery performance, and improvement of county and district level health facilities.  

Under the first component, the project will support:

· Introduction of instruments and management techniques in project hospitals, providing them with the tools and information to prepare for reform while contributing to improved performance;

· Development of specialists, upgrading of the skills of medical professionals at county, township and village level, and training of managers, such as hospital directors and nursing directors, and health bureau officials;  

· Ongoing efforts to establish a health management information system in the project hospitals; and

· Implementation support and supervision.

Under the second component, the project will support:

· Construction, expansion and upgrading of facilities in project hospitals, following energy efficient and green hospital design standards; and

· Activities associated with project implementation support, monitoring and evaluation and capacity building.

Seven of the eight counties where the project will be implemented are nationally or provincially designated poor counties. As a result of the project, over seven million people will be able to receive quality health services in their own counties rather than going to municipal hospitals where services are more costly.

“This new project will build on the successful pilots of the ongoing China Rural Health Project, and expand and deepen innovations related to care coordination and clinical pathways which are part of China’s public hospital reform. By improving the physical conditions of county level health facilities as well as the performance of service provision, the project will contribute to urban and rural integrated development in Chongqing,” said Shuo Zhang, World Bank’s Senior Health Specialist and task team leader of the project.  The China Rural Health Project, launched in 2008 and funded by the World Bank, piloted new approaches and innovations for health reforms in 40 counties in eight provinces including Chongqing.

The total investment of the Chongqing Urban Rural Integration Project II is estimated at US$155.51 million, with US$100 million to be financed by the World Bank loan and US$55.51 million to be covered by project counties and hospitals.

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