WB/Argentina: Effective Universal Health Coverage for More Than 5 Million People

July 7, 2015

For the first time, new US$200 million financing benefits adult men without health insurance, adding to women and child coverage

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2015 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a new project for Argentina totaling US$200 million that seeks to strengthen the provision of healthcare services among people without social security, incorporating men under 65 years of age.

It involves an additional financing for the Sumar Program, which currently covers children aged between 6 and 9, youth between 10 and 19 and women under 65 years of age. The goal now is to cover the adult male population without health insurance and contribute to the objective of effectively covering at least 50 percent of the eligible population by 2017, meaning 5.4 million people.

"Incorporating a new segment to the Sumar Program ensures that the entire population is now covered: we have a country where those without private health coverage can count on the State to provide all health care capacities at a municipal, provincial and national level through these national programs that can reach all sectors across the country. Sumar is focused on prevention, in such a way that now all men will be able to have the controls needed to prevent various illnesses and to treat them,” said Argentina’s Health Minister, Daniel Gollan.

The Sumar program provides a healthcare benefits plan, which is mostly preventive, by following a protocol that guarantees adequate quality standards. In the case of the male population, medical practices were chosen with the aim of reducing the burden of cardio-vascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, overweight and obesity, colon cancer and lesions.

“Through this project, we support the Argentine government’s decision to guarantee the same rights to men and women in terms of healthcare access,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. “The expansion of the Sumar Plan will allow the provision of quality healthcare services to the most vulnerable population,” he said.

Since its inception, the Sumar Program has achieved the following results:

  • Increase the share of children, youth and women with effective healthcare five-fold between 2010 and 2014, from 7 to 36 percent.
  • Double the share of women receiving prenatal care before the 13th week of pregnancy, from 15 to 30 percent.
  • Triple the share of under-10-year-old children receiving healthcare controls from 15 to 45 percent.

Since 2004, the World Bank has supported the Argentine government’s health programs with the goal of reaching universal effective coverage. The Plan Nacer program, for example, predecessor to the Sumar Program, improved service provision among pregnant women and vulnerable children living in the country’s poorest regions, via an innovative results-based financing model. An impact evaluation of this project proved that babies born to mothers attending healthcare centers registered in the Plan Nacer were 7 percent less likely to be born underweight. This effect is even greater for babies born to mothers registered in the Plan, with a 19 percent reduction in the probability of being born underweight. Moreover, babies born to beneficiary mothers are 74 percent less likely to suffer neonatal death, measured in big maternities in a subset of provinces.

The Sumar Program additional financing has a variable margin, a 25-year maturity period and a 7-year grace period.


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