The FINANCIAL — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved two new projects for Argentina totaling US$402.5 million in the areas of health and rural development. The projects fall under the partnership strategy with Argentina, which contributes to the development of inclusive policies benefiting the 40 percent of the population with least opportunities.
The US$350 million Protecting the Vulnerable Population from Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases project supports the Health Ministry’s strategy for these diseases by improving access to control and prevention services among 3.2 million adults aged between 40 and 64, who are most at risk. Furthermore, the US$52.5 million Socio-Economic Inclusion in Rural Areas project will benefit 10,000 poor rural families (some 50,000 people) in isolated communities in the country’s north, which will see improvements in community infrastructure and market access for their products, according to the World Bank.
“We are working with the Government of Argentina by supporting programs aimed at improving opportunities for development among the poorest 40 percent of the population. We intend to break the vulnerability and poverty cycle so that each Argentine can develop to their full potential. These two projects bring Argentina one step closer to achieving this,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Combatting Non-Communicable Diseases
Non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular ones, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases are responsible for 81 percent of deaths in Argentina. Given that 45 percent of all deaths affect adults under 65 years of age, these diseases impact the emotional life of families while entailing socio-economic consequences.
A significant part of these diseases can be prevented or controlled by reducing risk factors, which in the case of Argentines include: a sugar-heavy diet, refined flours, fat and salt, insufficient fiber consumption; overweight and obesity; tobacco consumption; hypertension; and high levels of glucose in the blood.
The “Protecting the Vulnerable Population from Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases” project seeks to build capacity at primary healthcare centers in order to provide quality early detection services and continuous control of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Equally, it also seeks to optimize early detection of colon cancer, which causes 11 percent of all cancer deaths, both in primary centers as well as hospitals.
At the same time, it will carry out interventions at a provincial and municipal level aimed at promoting a healthy diet (by increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and reducing sodium- and trans fat-rich foods), fostering physical activity and controlling tobacco consumption.
Greater Inclusion for Rural Communities
Approximately 1.5 million rural dwellers live in poverty. These include small-scale farmers, indigenous people and rural workers, normally living in isolated communities with limited access to markets and services, and facing a precarious land ownership situation.
The project will benefit 10,000 families, mostly in the Northeast (NEA) and Northwest (NOA), who will receive support to strengthen their organization and management capacities; improve infrastructure and services; and establish productive partnerships to achieve sustainable market access.
Financing for the “Socio-Economic Inclusion in Rural Areas” project has a variable margin, a 31.5-year maturity period and a 7-year grace period.
In turn, financing for “Protecting the Vulnerable Population from Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases” project has a variable margin, a 32.5-year maturity period and a 7-year grace period.