News Column

World Bank Gives FG U.S.$150 Million Credit to Boost Healthcare

February 13, 2014

Victor Okeke and Winifred Ogbebo

The World Bank on Thursday in Abuja announced a credit facility of $150 million to the federal government for the Nigeria State Health Investment Project.

The project also attracted additional $20 million grant from the UK government.

The project is a five-year programme which will run in three states of Adamawa, Ondo and Nasarawa.

It aims to increase the coverage of essential health services and strengthen the health system through multiple result-based approaches.

Speaking to journalists at the launch yesterday in Abuja, the World Bank Country Representative, Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, said, "this project is supported by a US$150 million IDA credit and US$20 million grant from the HRITF."

Specifically, she stated that the project aims to "increase the delivery and utilization of height impact maternal, child, reproductive and disease control health interventions particularly among the poor and improve the quality of care provided in publicly-financed health facilities within Adamawa, Nasarawa and Ondo States.

The project is anchored at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) while Federal Ministry of Health performs the steering role.

Marie-Nelly said though the board of the World Bank approved the project in April, 2012; it did not become effective until August 22, 2013.

The delay, she explained, was positively used by the project to build capacity in performance based financing and pre-piloting PBF for proof of concept.

"Since then, the pre-pilot has demonstrating remarkable performance. The average coverage of institutional delivery in the pre-pilot LGAs increased from 11 per cent in December 2011 to 40 per cent in September 2013."

"Completely vaccinated children increased from 7 per cent to 43 per cent. Other indicators also show similar increases. Quality scores of health facilities also increased from 21 per cent to 81 per cent in Nasarawa state and from 25 per cent to 66 per cent in Adamawa state."

She noted that there is clear evidence of improvement in drug storage, cleanliness of facilities and staff's motivation in these facilities.

In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu stated that whatever the federal government does in social structure including health and education, without the input of states and local government, "we will not get there."

He said that the bulk of implementation in the health sector today lies in local governments and states.

The minister, however, called on the need to upscale the states which were being used as pilot programme, saying, "For the three states used as pilot programme, it is good because pilots are for evidence-based but my quarrel is that for a country like Nigeria, considering its size, we need to upscale."

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Source: AllAfrica

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