World Bank Supports Ethiopia’s Push to Achieve Historic Health Improvements

February 28, 2013

WASHINGTON, February 28, 2013 – The World Bank has mobilized US$120 million to help Ethiopia achieve far-reaching improvements in maternal and child health, and continue its progress towards meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for health. The Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved the Ethiopia Health MDGs Program-for-Results (PforR).

Under the terms of the new approval, a $100 million zero-interest credit will be disbursed to Ethiopia over the next four years on the completion of specific health results, particularly those that improve the health of the country’s women and children. Ethiopia will also get a $20 million grant from the Health Results Innovation Trust Fund, managed by the World Bank and funded by the United Kingdom and Norway. The Trust Fund supports the use of results-based financing to improve the coverage of essential maternal and child health services.

In recent years, Ethiopia has made impressive progress in health, with child deaths falling by 30 percent between 2005 and 2011. By linking its new World Bank funding to concrete deliverable results—such as  a greater share of mothers who receive skilled health care while giving birth—Ethiopia is expected to increase the numbers of its mothers who survive childbirth.

“It is hugely encouraging that recent economic growth in Ethiopia has been accompanied by dramatic improvements in people’s healthcare,” said Guang Zhe Chen, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia. “The country is already on track to meet some of its Millennium Development Goals in health, including those for child survival, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. This program will boost Ethiopia’s efforts to expand these results by providing financial incentives to improve the reach of basic health services across the country.”

The new Ethiopia Health MDGs PforR operation marks the World Bank’s first use of its new Program-for-Results lending window for improving health in a country supported by its zero-interest lending facility called the International Development Association (IDA)*. Under PforR financing, funds are released when better development results have been verifiably achieved.  

Key results against which PforR funds will be disbursed to Ethiopia include: an increased share of deliveries attended by skilled health workers, timely immunization to protect children against five vaccine-preventable diseases (diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type b), and pregnant women receiving at least one antenatal care visit. Other key results are expected to improve efficiency, such as timely data reporting by health centers and more transparent procurement.

Ethiopia has already deployed a large national network of more than 35,000 trained health workers and expanded the network of health centers to quickly scale up the government’s delivery of basic health services, in close alliance with the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID), the Netherlands, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the Spanish Development Cooperation, the World Bank, and other donor and partner groups, particularly UN agencies. 

“Focusing on results in health not only improves people’s lives, but is also one of the smartest investments that a country can make,” said Ritva Reinikka, World Bank Director for Human Development in Africa. “In the long run, no nation can hope to sustain economic growth and thrive without successfully delivering high quality basic public services for all citizens.”


* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing zero-interest financing and grants 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 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.


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