WASHINGTON D.C., July 6, 2023 – The World Bank Board of Directors approved US$ 50 million in new financing for Argentina to improve access to public healthcare services and ensure continued service for 6.5 million residents of the province of Buenos Aires without private health insurance.
“We celebrate this new support from the World Bank that contributes to continue strengthening the integration and quality of the public health system in our province. This project will allow us to progress in the modernization of health care and advance in the digitization of the Integrated Health Record in more than 150 provincial hospitals and municipal health care centers and to develop and implement telemedicine for remote medical care. In this way, we continue expanding the right to health of millions of Buenos Aires residents, through sustainable and responsible financing,” said Axel Kicillof, governor of the Province of Buenos Aires.
The project Strengthening the Digital Health Agenda in the Province of Buenos Aires also seeks to improve the coordination and continuity of services in the public healthcare network, including for chronic non-communicable diseases, which are currently the leading cause of death and disability in the province and disproportionately affect the poorest residents.
“This new project will support the development of an integrated healthcare network in the most vulnerable municipalities of Buenos Aires Province to improve health outcomes as well as to improve preparedness for providing healthcare services in the event of extreme weather events," said Marianne Fay, World Bank director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
With this initiative, the province of Buenos Aires will provide quality healthcare services to all citizens, regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas. In 2019, cardiovascular diseases and cancer accounted for 50 percent of deaths in the province. For cancers that primarily affect women, such as cervical and breast cancer, coverage of screening and treatment services needs to be improved. For example, just 29 percent of women ages 50 to 70, who are only covered by public health services, have had a mammogram.
To address these challenges, the new project will focus on two key areas:
- Strengthening of electronic medical records. Specifically, the project will support the implementation of the Integrated Health Record (HSI) in primary healthcare centers and in public hospitals in 30 vulnerable municipalities. These records will enable healthcare professionals to access comprehensive information on patients, including clinical exams, diagnostic imaging and medication.
- Development and implementation of telemedicine. This remote medical care solution enables continued service even when it is difficult to physically access the patient, such as in the event of a weather emergency, or as was the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Strengthening Digital Health in Buenos Aires Province project is financed with a variable spread loan that has a 30-year maturity period and a six-year grace period.