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IDB loan set to improve health care for women and children in Bolivia

Bolivia will improve the health services offered to women, children and indigenous populations in El Alto and Potosí, thanks to a $35 million loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The project will seek to cut infant mortality rates in the departments of La Paz – where El Alto is located – and Potosí by a fifth by 2017 and early neonatal mortality rates by a quarter in those same areas, partly by improving health management and building and equipping new facilities. Potosí and El Alto are home to some of the poorest and mostly indigenous populations of the country.

Bolivia has made important advances in recent years in lowering extreme poverty and infant mortality. Still, the country has the second-highest infant mortality rate in Latin America, reflecting difficult access to quality health care by the poor, particularly in El Alto and Potosí regions, where hospital beds are in short supply.

The program will equip the new El Alto Norte hospital, and strengthen its capacity to provide modern ambulatory care services, and will also strengthen the El Alto municipal health network, among other actions. The city of Potosí will get a new 298-bed hospital with specialized in-patient and ambulatory care facilities, in addition to other support.

The counterpart financing will be $14.2 million. The loan is partially financed from the IDB´s Ordinary Capital (OC) and partially from the Fund for Special Operations (FSO). The OC portion for $28 million will carry a 30-year amortization period and a six-year grace period. The FSO portion for $7 million will carry a 40-year amortization and grace period.