WASHINGTON: The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$54 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to improve health service delivery to women, children, and adolescents in Liberia. The Institutional Foundations to Improve Services for Health (IFISH) project will support the expansion and operationalization of the new Redemption Hospital in Caldwell, rural Montserrado County.
The hospital is the largest provider of secondary level services in the country, but currently functions at maximum capacity. Construction at the new site started in mid-2018 with a focus on maternal health (obstetrics and gynecology) and child health (pediatrics). The approved scale-up financing will ensure that the new site also provides services in surgery and internal medicine and that the hospital is fully equipped and operational.
The project aims to reduce the number of women dying in pregnancy, improve the health, wellbeing, and survival of the adolescent girl, and contribute to the improvement of Liberia’s Human Capital Index. It will build on ongoing efforts supported by the World Bank and Global Financing Facility (GFF) to improve the quality of healthcare and build resilience since the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
“Through the expansion and modernization of the hospital, the increased number of qualified health practitioners, as well as improved systems and processes, the project will enhance Liberia’s capacity to provide better health care services and ability to deal with future pandemics,” said Khwima Nthara, World Bank Country Manager for Liberia.
Currently, hospitals and the health system cannot adequately respond to people’s daily health care needs, particularly during health emergencies like the Ebola outbreak and potentially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This Scale Up Facility financing has been mobilized to support the government’s health sector plan and the implementation of the government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
“The IFISH project reflects the government of Liberia’s commitment to addressing systemic challenges in the health sector that contribute to high rates of maternal, adolescent and child deaths in the country,” said Opope Oyaka Tshivuila Matala, World Bank Task Team Leader. “This project will play a critical role in saving lives for generations to come”.
The IFISH project will also train health workers, nurses and midwives, finance selected undergraduate and post-graduate faculties; and enhance transparency and effectiveness in the use of government and donor financing in the health sector.
The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since its inception, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments are constantly on the rise and have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.