Friday, 20 June 2008

World Bank and Multiple Donors Help Cambodia Achieve its Health Goals


The FINANCIAL -- The World Bank Group on June 19 approved a US$30 million credit to support the implementation of Cambodia’s new Health Strategic Plan 2008 - 2015.

The plan aims to improve health care and preventive health services for Cambodian people, with particular emphasis on women, children and the poor.

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 arm of the World Bank that supports the world’s poorest countries. The rest of the support will come from the UK’s overseas development agency, DFID, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), UNICEF, United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) and French Development Cooperation (AFD). Other development partners are expected to join the program during its implementation.

The HSSP2 will use Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) 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 efficient health sector performance.

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 chronic disease. It will improve the quality of training of health professionals, including midwives; strengthen health service delivery in health centers and referral hospitals; and, support the Government in its role as the steward of the health system. More poor people will benefit from the program as it intends to scale up support to Health Equity Funds to help the poor access essential health care. The program is also expected to facilitate the role of civil society and non-governmental organization in local health planning and oversight on service delivery.

“There have been notable improvements in the health of Cambodian people over the past decade,” said H.E. Professor Eng Huot, Secretary of State, Ministry of Health. “Life expectancy has increased from 52 to 58 years for men and 56 to 64 years for women; infant and child mortality are on the decline and the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been arrested. But several challenges are still facing us. These include high maternal mortality, slow progress in malnutrition, rising cost for health care; poor quality of health care, and the rise of injuries and non-communicable diseases. We hope that, with this significant support through HSSP2 from the World Bank and our other development partners, we will be able to achieve and sustain progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and improve equity in health. HSSP2 also takes a significant step forward in improving harmonization and alignment of aid in the health sector in line with our commitments under the Paris Declaration and International Health Partnership. ”

The World Bank’s Country Director for Cambodia, Ian Porter said: “The World Bank has been engaged in the health sector since 1996 through our two projects – Disease Control and Health Development Project, and the Health Sector Support Project. We have built strong relationships with the Government and other development partners in the health sector. We are glad to see HSSP2 off the ground in line with our Country Assistance Strategy for Cambodia that was developed in cooperation with DFID, the Asian Development Bank, and the UN system.”

Claire Moran Country Manager for the UK Department for International Development said: “I am delighted that the World Bank with the other funding donors has developed this new program. As well as accelerating progress towards the health MDGs, this new partnership represents an important step forward in aid effectiveness in the health sector. In line with the commitments development partners and the RGC made in signing the International Health Partnership in September 2007, the new program includes plans to pool resources and work in a more coordinated way to streamline how development partners support the Ministry of Health.”

“AusAID is currently expanding its development assistance to Cambodia,” said the head of AusAID’s Cambodia Program, Counsellor Lachlan Pontifex, “We believe that the HSSP2 Partnership will make an important contribution to improving health within Cambodia and in particular to achieving the Cambodia Millennium Development Goals for health. We hope that HSSP2 will also provide an opportunity for all donors and the Cambodian Government to work more effectively together to strengthen the health system and improve access.”.

Alice Levisay, UNFPA Cambodia Representative said: “We are pleased to be part of this ambitious multi-donor program in support of the Ministry of Health’s new Health Strategic Plan 2008-2015. The HSSP2 represents a new way of working for both donors and for the ministry, and will accelerate progress toward Cambodia’s Health MDG targets, particularly for under-funded priority areas such as reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child health and non-communicable diseases.”

IDA is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries. It aims to reduce poverty by providing interest-free credits and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities and improve people’s living conditions.

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