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Honduran capital Tegucigalpa to boost emergency health care with IDB help

Loan of $53.8 million to enhance trauma and emergency care in Tegucigalpa through construction of a new trauma hospital

The Inter-American Development Bank has approved a $53.8 million loan to build a new hospital in Honduras that will improve trauma and emergency care services both in the capital Tegucigalpa and the central-southeast region of the country. Through the construction of this hospital and an improvement in health care services, the plan will boost living standards and enhance care for patients with external injuries, in addition to easing the workload at the University Hospital. 

Injuries with an external cause (triggered mainly by traffic accidents and stabbing and gunfire wounds) are now one of the main public health problems in Honduras. They have become the main cause of Years of Life Lost due to premature death, followed by chronic illnesses such as cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and complications in childbirth and with newborns. Externally caused injuries are now the second most frequent reason for people being hospitalized and cared for in public hospital emergency rooms and one of the main causes of disability. 

The health care system in Honduras suffers from structural problems such as a shortage of hospital beds and medical staff. The number of beds is 0.8 per 1,000 inhabitants, below that of other countries in the region such as Costa Rica (1.2), El Salvador (1) or Panama (2.2). The number of doctors and nurses is also below the regional average, at 10 and 3.8 respectively per 10,000 inhabitants, compared to the Latin American average of 17.6 physicians and 14.3 nurses. Furthermore, the infrastructure of the public health care system needs improvements and the number of hospital beds has barely budged over the past 25 years.

This project will finance the construction of a new trauma hospital to fill the gap of 150 beds needed to care for patients with this kind of injury in Tegucigalpa and the central-southeast part of the country. It is an alternative that would cost less than enlarging the existing University Hospital.

What is more, in order to enhance the network of hospitals in the central-southeast part of the country, the initiative will finance the implementation of telemedicine systems including telediagnosis, teleconsultations, and the reading and discussion of diagnoses with images presented by radiology specialists.  There will also be an automated system to record patient care, e-case files, electronic prescriptions, a system of electronic monitoring of ambulances and development of devices to manage hospital beds and surgery waiting lists. 

The loan totals $53.8 million, of which $32.2 million come from the regular ordinary IDB capital over 25 years, with a grace period of five and a half years and an interest rate pegged to the Libor. The other $21.5 million come from concessional ordinary capital to be paid back over 40 years, with a grace period of 40 years and an interest rate of 0.25%.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.