WASHINGTON, DC, October 5, 2023—The World Bank's Board of Directors approved today a $50 million investment to strengthen the health system and social protection networks in the state of Piauí, in Northeastern Brazil.
As part of the effort to improve health surveillance, social protection, and employment services, the new project aims to make them more inclusive and responsive to economic, climate, and environmental shocks, as well as to pandemics.
Through the project, the entire state population, of 3.25 million people, will benefit from better management practices in the healthcare sector and from improved health surveillance information. Special attention will be given to strengthening food and nutrition surveillance, with a focus on children and families, who tend to be the most vulnerable to nutritional problems.
Additionally, the new project will provide funding and technical assistance to the state's cash transfer program, which should benefit approximately 36,000 vulnerable households. An estimated 87 percent of potential beneficiaries live in extreme poverty. A preliminary assessment of potential beneficiaries found that the majority of families are headed by women (93 percent), of which 27 percent are single mothers. Around half live in rural areas, with a large presence of semi-literate adults (functional illiteracy) and children and young people (71 percent of potential beneficiaries are under 24 years old).
In parallel, the initiative seeks to strengthen the state branch of the National Labor Service (SINE, for its acronym in Portuguese), which connects job seekers to employers. This should benefit 3,000 people each year, including the unemployed, young people looking for their first job, and domestic workers.
“We are grateful for this important partnership with the World Bank, which will provide our administration with very important support for expanding health surveillance in primary healthcare and strengthening social protection actions, in particular for the most vulnerable population,” said Rafael Fonteles, Piauí State Governor.
“The World Bank has a long-standing partnership with Piauí. We are committed to supporting Piauí's efforts to address critical issues in areas such as health, social protection, and employment services, under a wide project supported by the state government," said Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Brazil.
The loan has a maturity period of 30 years, including a 10-year grace period.