WASHINGTON, November 18, 2016 - The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank today approved a US$125 million loan to the Republic of Belarus for a new Health System Modernization Project aimed to improve selected aspects of the quality of health care delivery in the country. The project will assist Belarus in its efforts to deliver better neonatal care, establish e-Health system and ICT-based clinical decision-support tools. It will also contribute to strengthening clinical competencies of health care providers in the management of non-communicable diseases.
Belarus has made considerable improvements in the delivery of health services, particularly on universal access to healthcare and management of communicable diseases. There is scope for further improvement inthe efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery. The high incidence of non-communicable diseases, in particular of cardiovascular diseases, is a key factor behind the low life expectancy in Belarus, particularly among men. The country also sees the need for further development of primary care services focusing on measures to eliminate inequality of health care provision between urban and rural areas.
“This project will enable the nationwide rollout of e-Health system to facilitate diagnosis of illness, clinical decisions for treatment, and follow-up of patient well-being in a systematic manner. The e-Health system will also allow for effective use of aggregated clinical information in designing and implementing public health policy,” said Mr. Young Chul Kim, World Bank Country Manager for Belarus. “The project will also establish contemporary training labs for health professionals as well as a new neonatal care unit, contributing to the improvement of quality of life for Belarusians,” added Mr. Kim.
The newly approved Health System Modernization Project relies on the findings of the World Bank Public Expenditure Review for Belarus (2013), which highlighted the need for optimization of health care provision, increased emphasis on primary health care and preventive services, especially for non-communicable diseases, and better service-quality management and accountability for results.
“The project supports prevention, early detection and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, which is a major challenge for Belarus aging population. In addition, the project supports improvement of neonatal acute care for newborns. An integrated health information system would allow seamless information exchange between all levels of health care and with patients, leading to better control of diseases,” noted Ms. Susanna Hayrapetyan, Lead Health Specialist, World Bank Project Team Leader.
Since the Republic of Belarus joined the World Bank in 1992, lending commitments to the country have totaled US$1.7 billion. In addition, grant financing totaling US$28 million has been provided to various programs, including those with civil society organizations. With the approval of this project, the active investment lending portfolio financed by the World Bank includes nine operations totaling US$973 million.