Improving health outcomes is a key focus at the World Bank Group. Over the last decade, 700 million people have benefited from essential health interventions through IDA grants, including 330 million children being immunized. The Word Bank’s portfolio of US$13.5 billion represents a 60 percent increase in the share of IDA funding for health and nutrition, reflecting rising demand from countries. It is also the result of the World Bank’s strong focus on preserving and strengthening primary health care systems to cope with health emergencies, and providing services for the most vulnerable, crisis-hit, or hardest-to-reach populations.
In El Salvador, 2.1 million people living in 92 municipalities can now access quality health care. Through the Strengthening Public Health Care System project, the country improved health services for poor and rural citizens, particularly women and children. Initial results from 2012-2017 indicate that births at health facilities increased, neonatal units were better equipped, and full cycles of treatment for cervical cancer were ensured, contributing to decreases in maternal and neonatal mortality. In addition, the nation strengthened its emergency response network, improved the equipment available at the primary and tertiary levels of care, and improved the National Reference Institute responsible for identifying and monitoring infectious diseases.
In South Sudan, where maternal and child mortality rates are among the highest in the world, and child malnutrition is severe, the Provision of Essential Health Services Project is bringing high-impact health services to more than 3.5 million people, mostly women and children. With a special focus on high-risk communities and internally displaced persons, the project is training health professionals in the treatment and counseling of sexual and gender-based violence victims.
Yemen is making great strides in preserving its primary health systems, improving service delivery resilience, and prioritizing support to conflict-affected poor and vulnerable groups. Through the Yemen Emergency Health and Nutrition Project, nearly 12 million children had been vaccinated, more than 1.6 million people had been treated for cholera, 4.3 million women and children have received basic nutrition services, and 16 million have been reached by health services since 2017. The project is supporting around 50 percent of public primary and secondary healthcare facilities across the country. It is also delivering critical health and nutrition services and addressing cholera outbreaks through integrated health, nutrition, water and sanitation interventions.
In Afghanistan, after years of war, the World Bank’s Sehatmandi Project, which is co-financed by IDA, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund and the Global Financing Facility, is providing essential community-based health services and basic psychosocial counseling, management of severe and acute mental health problems, and professional psychosocial counseling in about half of the country. In 2018, more than 2.2 million people received mental health services in all 34 provinces of the country compared to around half a million people in 2009.
In the Sahel region, IDA funding backs the Sahel Women’s Economic Empowerment and the Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) project aimed at enhancing women and adolescent girls’ empowerment; increasing access to quality reproductive, child and maternal health services, and improving regional knowledge sharing, capacity and coordination in the context of some of the highest fertility and poverty rates globally. Covering six countries (Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso) SWEDD has achieved the following results to date:
- more than 40,000 girls across project countries have benefited from schooling-related interventions (including transportation services, accommodation, food, school supplies, and cash transfers);
- 400 health and midwifery training institutions have been evaluated and equipped across the region; and
- 3 centers of excellence in Niger, Cote d’Ivoire and Mali have been launched, offering for the first time in the Sahel, a master’s program on Nursing and Obstetrics, including modules related to the challenges of adolescent girls, gender-based violence and post-partum family planning.
The high incidence of tuberculosis (TB) in the mining sector is an invisible crisis that has eroded economic development in the Southern African region. The World Bank, in collaboration with 15 Southern African governments, designed a comprehensive program that is improving regional coordination to fight TB in the mining sector, including through provision of TB screening for mineworkers, and establishing and increasing services for former mineworkers.
With a stagnant economy for the last 30 years, Madagascar has become one of the poorest countries in the world. In 2019, the World Bank approved a second additional financing of US$ 90 million for the Social Safety Net Project (SSNP) to help extremely poor households access safety net services and strengthen the foundations of the national social protection system. To date, SSNP has reached more than 450,000 households across 17 districts, promoting nutrition, early childhood development, school attendance, and encouraging more interactions between parents and their children. Over 500,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women and more than 1.7 million children under the age of five have received free health care by means of a voucher and exemption system. Classroom absenteeism has declined due to nearly 1.8 million school-age children receiving preventive treatment against neglected tropical diseases, particularly helminth infections. Through the FIAVOTA program, 65,000 vulnerable drought-affected households (totaling over 780,000 people) in southern Madagascar received cash transfers combined with health and nutrition interventions to stabilize their income, build resilience, and improve their well-being.
Last Updated: Apr 02, 2020