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World Bank Supports Expanded Health Care Services for Rural, Poor Families in Cameroon

June 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2014 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a total of US$40 million for Cameroon to improve the availability and quality of health services in the northern regions, (Adamaoua, North and Far-North) in addition to the four previous regions, with a particular focus on child and maternal health, and communicable diseases such as tuberculosis. Out of the US$ 40 million, US$ 20 million are under the form of a grant and US$ 20 million a credit. Some 5.3 million people will benefit from the project, especially women of reproductive age, teenage girls and children under 5-years-old.

With leadership from the Government, a US$20 million grant from the Health Results Innovation Multi Donor Trust Fund (HRITF)  – the World Bank’s vehicle for Results-Based Financing (RBF) – was approved today. The funds will help scale-up the project activities in the 26 districts currently implementing Performance Based Financing (PBF), which provide payments to health clinics and community health workers based on the quantity and quality of the services delivered. An ongoing PBF impact evaluation will be completed and the results will assist the Government to fine tune a PBF national strategy.

“The performance based financing approach used in  the project will increase the coverage and quality of key maternal and child health services in Cameroon, and make the country’s health systems more efficient, and more accountable,” says Gregor Binkert, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon. “The health facilities with PBF contracts will in turn provide more and better care for marginalized populations, particularly women and children, and also improve medical waste management in the country.”

The $20 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA*) approved today will help the ongoing Cameroon Health Sector Support Project extend its implementation period as well as expand its coverage to poor families living in rural areas in northern Cameroon. The project has already achieved promising results. Some 714,024 people have benefitted from improved health care, 2,044 cases of tuberculosis have been detected and treated, and 56,895 kids have been immunized.

“Rural residents in the Northern Regions of Cameroon face difficulties obtaining health care services, such as long distances over rough terrain to reach a clinic, fewer trained health care workers living locally, and higher levels of poverty than people living in the cities or southern regions,” says Gaston Sorgho, World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project. “With today’s additional financing, the Cameroon Health Sector Support Project will continue to support poor communities, particularly mothers and children, by providing directly to health workers the resources and the motivation to reach out to the population.”

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing zero-interest loans 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 82 poorest countries, 40 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 $16 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

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