WASHINGTON, June 19, 2018—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$118 million loan today to support China’s Anhui Province in developing and managing a diversified, three-tiered aged care service delivery system for the elderly, particularly those with limited functional ability. The Anhui Aged Care System Demonstration Project is the first World Bank-supported project globally to focus exclusively on developing a services system for elderly care.
Population ageing is occurring rapidly in China, with people aged 65 and older expected to comprise about 26 percent of the total population by 2050. The population who are over 80 years old has been increasing even faster. Traditionally, elderly care has been provided by family members. However, with demographic and socioeconomic changes, families alone may not be able to continue shouldering the burdens of elderly care. At the national level, the government has laid out a vision for a three-tiered aged care system with home-based care as its bedrock, supported by community-based care and supplemented by institutional care.
Similar to the rest of China, Anhui faces challenges in meeting the care needs of its elderly population, totaling some 6.9 million people over age 65, including about 1.3 million with limited functional ability and requiring help with daily activities. Today, most elderly care services in Anhui are supplied informally, by family members or relatives. Formal home-based care and community care are still largely underdeveloped.
“The project will help address the challenges facing China and Anhui’s aged care system, and contribute to the development of a well-functioning market for elderly care services, where individuals can find services that meet their needs, preferences and resource constraints,” said Elena Glinskaya, World Bank Human Development Program Leader for China and leader of the project, "The project will enable the piloting of innovative approaches identified in our analytical work, which may allow China to leapfrog the experience of many advanced economies in developing elderly care systems."
The project’s activities include supporting efforts to develop a unified information system that will serve the government, the private providers and the consumers; improving the government institutions responsible for assessing the functional ability of the elderly; and strengthening quality standards and human resource training to improve efficiency, quality of provision, and consumer satisfaction. In municipalities Anqing and Lu’an, the project will finance community-based service stations that will provide daycare and overnight care for the elderly in their communities, and purchase of basic aged care services from private providers for elderly in need. Another area for support will be for the development of skilled nursing care facilities attached to urban public hospitals, as well as those in urban and rural welfare homes.
The total project cost is US$197.84 million, with US$118 million from World Bank financing and US$79.84 million from the government. The project design was informed by a World Bank report “Options for Aged Care: Building an Efficient and Sustainable Aged Care System in China”, and drew on the Bank’s experience working on projects that strengthen service delivery systems around the world.