In Spitamen district, Ms. Veevers-Carter met with doctors and nurses of the rural health centers of “Saidkurgan” and “Tagoyak”, where the World Bank is supporting a pilot of a new financing scheme in primary healthcare aimed at increasing the coverage and quality of maternal and child health. The performance-based financing scheme was piloted in 17 health facilities in Spitamen since 2014 under the World Bank financed Health Services Improvement Project. As a result of the pilot, health facilities report an increased number of postnatal care visits and fully vaccinated children in Spitamen. The project is supporting the Government of Tajikistan in expanding the pilot to almost 300 additional primary health care facilities in Sughd and Khatlon oblasts, which are the project’s target regions.
Another key reform supported by the World Bank and successfully piloted in Istravshan district is Targeted Social Assistance, which aims to provide a consolidated social assistance benefit to the poorest 20 percent of the population through better targeting.
“The pilot of the Targeted Social Assistance in Istravshan demonstrated very good results in terms of identifying and targeting households, who need assistance the most,” said Patricia Veevers-Carter, the World Bank Country Manager for Tajikistan at the meeting with Istravshan authorities. “The World Bank is supporting the Government in expanding the pilot to 25 districts from July 2014, and further expanding to 40 districts by the end of the year 2015 and take the reform nationwide by 2017.”
In Konibodom and Bobojon Gafurov districts, Ms. Veevers-Carter met with farmers, who benefited from much needed water for their land through better irrigation and drainage infrastructure as part of the World Bank financed Ferghana Valley Water Resource Management Project, a grant of US$24.17 million. The project supported improved irrigation for 7,349 hectares of land, benefiting 2,134 farming households in the two districts through rehabilitation of pumps, wells and drainage infrastructure, cleaning of canals and improvement of embankments. The project supported the establishment of two Water User Associations and helped strengthen the Early Warning System of the Kairakkum Dam in response to potential emergencies.
In Konibodom, Ms. Veevers-Carter also visited areas to be rehabilitated as part of the World Bank financed Second Phase of the Central Asia Road Links Program. This US$45 million equivalent project will help increase transport connectivity between Tajikistan and neighboring countries along key cross-border road links in Sughd Oblast, and thus connect people and firms, markets and opportunities, regionally.
In Khujand Ms. Veevers-Carter visited the Bank Eskhata, which is active in supporting small and medium enterprises though loans. The World Bank Group, as part of its efforts to develop the private sector, has partnered with Eskhata since 2005. To date, the WBG invested about US$24 million in Eskhata, and provided advisory services on improving its treasury operations.
Ms. Veevers-Carter also met with university students and local civil society organizations to discuss development challenges and opportunities in Sughd Oblast.
The World Bank Group’s active portfolio in Tajikistan includes 21 projects totaling US$283.4 million. The largest share of the portfolio is in agriculture (24 percent), followed by urban and rural development (21 percent), transport (16 present), governance and economic policy (9 percent) environment and natural resources (7 percent), education (6 percent), health and social protection (6 percent), water (6 percent), the private sector (4 percent) and social protection and labor (1 percent). Since 1996, the World Bank provided over US$1 billion in grants and highly concessional credits from the International Development Association and trust fund resources to Tajikistan.
The World Bank Group is committed to continue supporting Tajikistan as it strives to improve the lives of its people and meet the aspirations of its young and growing population.