World Bank approves USD 100 million loan to strengthen Nepal’s school and health sectors

NL Today

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Kathmandu: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved two separate additional financings of USD 50 million each to Nepal.

The financings are for the implementation of the government’s flagship School Sector Development Program, and to improve efficiency in the public resource management systems of Nepal’s health sector, the World Bank said in a statement.

“Strengthening Nepal’s school sector and building resilient health systems are critical for human capital development, particularly for poor and vulnerable populations,” stated Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “We aim to mitigate learning losses and ensure that children return to schools, and improve the efficiency of spending and fiscal space for delivering quality and accountable healthcare services to contribute to Nepal’s Covid-19 recovery.”

The Additional Financing to the School Sector Development Program will help reduce dropouts and mitigate learning losses by supporting pro-poor targeted scholarships, pro-science scholarships, and catch-up programs, reads the statement.

The World Bank said it will lay the foundation for the next school sector successor program in two areas – assessment and data systems, and help create the fiscal space to fill the gap in financing the government’s flagship program. It will also support the implementation of federalism in Nepal by aligning the program with the federal structure to improve efficiency and achievement of results, the statement further states.

“Learning losses and drop-outs are higher among children coming from poorer socio-economic backgrounds,” stated Karthika Radhakrishnan, World Bank’s Program Task Team Leader. “The additional financing will support catch-up programs to mitigate learning losses and support children from poorer socio-economic backgrounds through pro-poor targeted scholarships.”

The Additional Financing for Nepal Health Sector Management Reform Program for Results will support the implementation of Nepal’s Health Sector Strategy in the one-year extension phase and sustain the gains accrued thus far in public resource management reforms of the health sector. It will also provide critical financing in a resource-constrained Covid-19 environment to build resilient health systems, and prepare Nepal to implement its next health sector strategy.

“The additional financing will continue to provide incentives for addressing the bottlenecks to improving public resource management in the health sector, and promote transparency and accountability in the system by linking payments to results,” stated Sangeeta Carol Pinto, World Bank’s Program Task Team Leader.