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Nicaragua to strengthen community and family health with IDB support

Loan for $20 million will benefit 190,000 women and cut neonatal deaths in half by 2015

Nicaragua will reduce neonatal and maternal mortality by increasing quality community and family health services for highly vulnerable populations with the support of $20 million in financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). 

The program will incorporate its family and community health model within local comprehensive health care systems in 22 municipalities in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region, Jinotega, and Matagalpa. These areas have the country’s highest indices of maternal mortality. Their population of just over a million people includes some190,000 women of childbearing age and 260,000 children under five. 

Rates of maternal and neonatal mortality are largely related to inequalities in access to health services. Over 70 percent of maternal deaths recorded by Nicaragua’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) between 2005 and 2008 occurred in rural areas. Lack of access and cultural factors are a cause of low utilization of services. 

The worst indicators are in areas with the greatest poverty and most dispersed populations, such as the Caribbean Coast and the Central-North area. These areas also have the greatest concentration of indigenous people and people of African descent. 

In the area of child health care, the program includes the vaccination of 97,000 children and the training of 2,000 MINSA personnel to improve the quality of child and maternal care and data collection. The program will also promote family planning and sexual and reproductive health to reduce the high rates of teenage pregnancy. 

The project will focus on three areas: 

  • Extending coverage of quality maternal and child services in 22 municipalities. These activities will account for 72 percent of the IDB financing. 
  • Strengthening capacity to extend maternal and infant care in 22 municipalities through use of a standardized mechanism for identifying and reporting on deficiencies in training and basic equipment in health centers that currently impede the timely delivery of services. 
  • Management, monitoring, and evaluation, which will include the improvement of systems for data collection and financial auditing, in addition to monitoring and evaluation. 

The IDB financing consists of a $10 million loan from its ordinary capital for a term of 30 years, including a grace period of 5.5 years at single currency facility fixed rate of interest; and a $10 million loan from the Fund for Special Operations for a term of 40 years with a grace period of 40 years at an interest rate of 0.25 percent.

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