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IDB finances program to reduce maternal and infant mortality and cervical-uterine cancer in Bolivia

The municipal health system in the city of El Alto and surrounding rural areas will offer improved services with better response capability 

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $43 million loan for Bolivia to improve the public health system in the city of El Alto and surrounding rural areas. 

The goal of the project is to provide health care services that will reduce mortality rates, especially maternal and infant mortality, as well as morbidity and mortality stemming from cervical-uterine cancer. 

Despite posting a gain of eight years in life expectancy at birth and reductions in mortality rates, over the past 20 years Bolivia and the city of El Alto have nonetheless lagged behind on other health indicators, with high rates of maternal and infant mortality and mortality from cervical-uterine cancer. In the period 2008-2012, 78 women died while giving birth in the municipality of El Alto, 90 percent of them in the city itself. 

El Alto has the highest population density and growth of any city in Bolivia. It lacks sufficient infrastructure to provide services for indigenous peoples, who number a million, and another 600,000 who live in nearby areas. 

The IDB loan will provide financing to build and equip the Hospital de Tercer Nivel Sur El Alto and get it up and running. This facility will complement existing health care infrastructure and enhance coverage and access to services for obstetric and delivery emergencies. The plan also calls for financing a program to monitor and treat cervical-uterine cancer. This will improve management of health care services and the functioning of the municipal health system, and encourage training and optimal use of human resources. 

The $43 million IDB loan is made up of $34.4 million in ordinary capital lent out over 30 years with a six-year grace period and a fixed interest rate; and $8.6 million from the Fund for Special Operations, over 40 years with the same six-year grace period and an annual interest rate of 0.25 percent. The package is being matched by a local contribution of $5.52 million.


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