WB provides 100 mln USD to help Afghan health sector



KABUL, May 6 (Xinhua) -- The World Bank (WB) on Monday provided a grant of 100 million U.S. dollars to the Afghan government to help improve the health sector in the war-hit country, said a statement of WB issued here.

"A 100-million-U.S.-dollar Grant, to finance the Afghanistan System Enhancement for Health Action in Transition (SEHAT) Program, was signed today between the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank," the statement said.

"The encouraging achievements in the health sector over the past decade were possible because of the (Afghan) Ministry of Public Health's commitment to improving health services and measuring service delivery performance with assistance from its partner NGOs," WB Acting Country Director Illango Patchamuthu said in the statement.

This new program will help ensure expansion of basic health and hospital services for both urban and rural areas where due to lack of such services thousands of people, particularly women and children, lose their lives every year. "We believe these packages of health services we finance play a vital role in improving the health of Afghans," he added.

"Provision of health care to its people remains one of the main priorities of the Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan during the transition," said Afghan Minister of Finance Omar Zakhailwal in a statement.

"The World Bank's support has been instrumental in enabling us to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Afghans, particularly women and children," Afghan Pulic Health Minister Suraya Dalil said, adding "Providing a basic package of health services and an essential package of hospital services has proved to produce encouraging results, particularly in remote and underserved areas. As we continue to deliver our commitment in expanding provision of health services to all Afghans across the country, we appreciate the World Bank's assistance at this crucial period of the transition process,"

The Afghan health ministry will implement SEHAT program over a period of five years, the statement said.