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Bolivia will strengthen health networks in the department of Potosí with help from the IDB

$35 million loan aims to reduce infant and maternal mortality and expand health coverage and quality

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $35 million loan to Bolivia for a program to reduce infant and maternal mortality by improving the health services network in the department of Potosí.

The program, which will benefit more of 788,000 people, will help the Ministry of Health and Sport to meet Objectives Three and Four of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The Bolivian government will contribute $7.27 million to the program to ensure the sustainability of its investments.

Located in southwest Bolivia, Potosí is one of the country’s poorest departments. The majority of the population is indigenous and rural. Rates of maternal and child mortality in the department are among the highest in the country and in Latin America.

The IDB-financed program will improve the promotion and adequate use of health services and will strengthen the referral system.

Another priority is to improve infrastructure and equipment for Potosí´s departmental health network by constructing and equipping the Madre Obrera Hospital in the city of Llallagua, which will provide quality care to the local rural population. In addition, two top-level health centers will be built, 50 health centers will be renovated, 25 will be expanded, and 200 will be provided with equipment.

"This investment will help the people to exercise their full right to health," said Beatriz Zurita, an IDB health lead specialist.

The IDB financing consists of two loans: one from the Bank’s ordinary capital for $26.25 million for a term of 30 years with a grace period of six years and a fixed interest rate; and the second from the Bank’s Fund for Special Operations for $8.75 million for a term of 40 years with a grace period of 40 years and an annual interest rate of 0.25 percent.