Monday, July 21, 2008

World Bank Signs US $30 Million Credit to Support Cambodia’s Health

By Soy Sophea

July 17: Cambodia and the World Bank inked an agreement detailing US $30 million in credit to support Cambodia’s new Strategic Health Plan through the Second Health Sector Support Program (HSSP2). The plan aims to improve health care and preventive health services for Cambodian people, with particular emphasis on women, children and the poor.
According to the World Bank’s press statement, the credit will be used to finance the Second Health Sector Support Program (HSSP2) which, over the next five years, will receive a total of US $120 million from six development partners. On the World Bank side, the credit will be provided by the International Development Association (IDA).The support comes from the UK’s Overseas Development Agency, the Department of International Development (DFID), the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and French Development Cooperation (AFD). Other development partners are expected to join the program during its implementation.Nuth Sokhom, Minister of the Ministry of Health, said that the HSSP2 is expected to significantly increase resources available to improve health of mothers and children as well as to tackle new health problems such as injuries and non-communicable diseases.

The minister also thanked the Development partners who always back the Cambodian government’s effort to enhance public welfare. He said that these activities also demonstrated the care of the Cambodian Government for the people.
The press release stated that it would improve the quality of training of health professionals, including midwives; strengthen health service delivery at health centers and referral hospitals through provision of service delivery grants; and support the Government in its role as the steward of the health system. More poor people would benefit from the program as it intends to scale up support for Health Equity Funds to help the poor access essential health care.

It continued that the program was also expected to facilitate the role of civil society and non-governmental organizations in local health planning. The project was approved by the World Bank Group’s Board of Directors in June.The HSSP2 will use the government’s health planning and results monitoring mechanisms and provide for joint management arrangements and pooled resources. The program is designed to help Cambodia improve health outcomes by strengthening institutional capacity and mechanisms by which the Government and development partners can achieve more effective and efficienthealth sector performance.World Bank’s Country Director for Cambodia, Ian Porter said as quoted in the press release that, “Cambodia is internationally renowned for policy innovations in the health sector including,the use of equity funds for the protection of the poor; contracting for service delivery; and the use of community-based health insurance.”

During the signing ceremony, H.E. Senior Minister Keat Chhon, Minister of Economy and Finance expressed his appreciation for the World Bank’s support and the input from development partners.

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