The World Bank is strengthening support to a project that is expected to improve the health of more than one million people across 14 provinces in Lao PDR.
US$15 million in additional financing, approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, will further support the ongoing Health Governance and Nutrition Development Project (HGNDP), which aims to establish a unified approach to healthcare information systems that enable senior policymakers in the Ministry of Health to plan better. The project builds on an earlier initiative that successfully increased access to healthcare for reproductive, maternal and child health, and nutrition services in targeted areas of the country.
“Improving healthcare and nutrition outcomes is a key priority for us to help us meet our goal of graduating from Least Developed Country status by the year 2020 and becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2030,” said Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment.
The ongoing project, which began in 2015, introduced innovative results-based financing approaches aimed to accelerate policy change, improve delivery of maternal and child health services, and achieve better health outcomes.
With additional financing, the project will further improve health management and data systems at the subnational level and strengthen immunization coverage, especially in lagging areas, as well as support a national campaign to encourage behavioral change towards nutrition.
“Some 44 percent of all children under five in Lao PDR suffer from stunting – no income group is spared. The future of the country is dependent on our collective efforts to prioritize improving the health and nutrition of the very young and the women who provide for them, as well as expectant women,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar.
Additional financing of US$10 million comes as a credit from International Development Association. The remaining amount is comprised of a US$4 million grant from the Integrating Donor-Financed Health Program (drawing on the Government of Australia’s contribution to the trust fund), which focuses on strengthening immunization systems, and US$1 million from the Government of Japan, earmarked to focus on improving information systems and monitoring health programs.
The World Bank currently finances 18 projects in Lao PDR in a variety of sectors. Investing in People is one of the key areas of the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework 2017-2021, with the objectives of reducing the prevalence of malnutrition and improving access to and quality of health services.