WASHINGTON, May 22, 2015 —The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved a total of US$12 million in new financing to rebuild the health system and strengthen the delivery of health services in war-torn Central African Republic (CAR). The project is expected to reach over 1 million direct beneficiaries in 2019 and will target the most vulnerable women and children.
The additional financing in the form of an International Development Association (IDA*) grant supports the original Health System Support Project, to improve the quality of maternal and child health services in targeted rural areas. It also provides emergency health services to populations affected by the recent socio-political crisis. The additional financing will introduce results-based interventions to strengthen CAR’s health system over the long-term, as the country moves out of the crisis that began in 2012.
Prior to the recent crisis, CAR was in dire need of improvements in health care, especially in maternal, child and reproductive health. In 2011, there was only 1 doctor for every 15,000 people and 1 health facility for every 8,000 people. The instability and violence in CAR over the last two years substantially deteriorated the health system and health needs remain acute for much of the population. As stability slowly returns to the country, the government has begun to shift health sector interventions away from emergency relief towards actions that will rebuild the collapsed health system.
“Health needs remain acute for much of the population in CAR and the availability of quality health services has deteriorated substantially,” said Gregor Binkert, the World Bank Country Director for CAR. “The project will cover 1.6 million people in areas affected by the crisis, leading to improved access to quality health services for 35% of the country's population. It will also contribute significantly to reducing morbidity and mortality, resulting in lives saved among some of the most at-risk populations in CAR.”
The additional financing aims to transition the project from emergency relief towards strengthening the health system over the medium- to long-term. Immediate support will include the provision of drugs, equipment, staffing and rehabilitation of health structures affected by the crisis, while Performance-Based Contracting and Performance-Based Financing will be used to reinforce the delivery of essential health services for the general population. As well as the additional financing, these interventions will be funded by a US$11.2 million dollar grant from the World Bank's Health Results Innovation Trust Fund (HRITF), which supports results-based financing approaches to accelerate progress in maternal, child and adolescent health. HRITF was founded in 2007 with support from the Governments of Norway and the United Kingdom.
The project will strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Health and Population in the delivery of maternal and child health services, providing social and medical health care support for 2,500 women victims of violence, and trained personnel in health facilities to assist 30,000 women giving birth in crisis-affected areas. The project also will provide immunizations for as many as 40,000 children.
“The project will continue to support the rebuilding of the health system as stability returns in the post-transition period,” said Paul Jacob Robyn, the World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project. “It is expected to have a positive impact not only on pregnant women and children, but on all women, and improved results in health service delivery will boost the quality and accessibility of care for CAR’s entire population.”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans 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 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people, the majority of whom live on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.