The World Bank approved a $27.5 million credit to the Republic of Yemen for a Health Reform Support Project (HRSP). The first in a series of projects aimed at strengthening the health care system, the HRSP will focus on increasing the access of women and children in poor communities to quality health services. It will also seek to improve the effectiveness of public health programs and resource allocation within the public sector, according to a World Bank press release.
The International Development Agency (IDA), an arm of the World Bank Group, which provides interest-free development assistance to the poorest countries, will issue the credit. The overall project cost is $30 million. The World Bank credit of $27.5 million will be disbursed on standard IDA terms with a 10-year grace period and a maturity of 40 years, and the Government of Yemen will contribute $2.5 million.
The health sector in Yemen faces major challenges with adult mortality, total fertility and maternal mortality rates among the highest in the Middle East and North Africa region. Under-nutrition afflicts 50 percent of the child population and communicable diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis are posing significant burden on the healthcare system.
Less than half of the population, especially those in rural areas, has access to basic health services. Other challenges include inefficient allocation and use of resources, inadequate quality of health services and an overly centralized health sector.
In response to these challenges, the Government of Yemen launched a health sector reform in 1998 aimed at improving equity, quality, effectiveness and accessibility of health services. At the request of the Government of Yemen, the HRSP will support the national health reform program through a three-pronged approach. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )