The FINANCIAL — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) have signed a $23 million loan agreement for subprogram 1 of the Health Sector Governance Program to improve delivery of health services, particularly for the poor, women and children.
The agreement was signed by Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, Vice Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Government of Lao PDR, and Sandra Nicoll, Country Director, Lao PDR Resident Mission, ADB.
The loan program will support the government’s Health Sector Reform Strategy (2013-2025), which aims to improve access to basic health care and financial protection by 2020, and to achieve universal health coverage by 2025. The strategy includes putting in place a health equity funds scheme and a free maternal, neonatal and child health care service scheme, as well as deploying health staff, particularly village midwives, to remote health facilities and implementing a licensing and registration process for health professionals. The loan will strategy will also support the government’s strategy to roll out a budgeting and reporting system to account for the source and application of funds at health facilities, according to ADB.
“Good governance in the health sector is important to help accelerate improvements to health care service delivery, especially for the benefit of the poor, women and children”, said Ms. Nicoll.
ADB’s assistance includes a $17 million policy-based loan and a $6 million technical assistance loan from ADB’s concessional Asian Development Fund. Subprogram 1 will be implemented by the Ministry of Health and will run for 3 years, with an expected completion date of September 2018.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.